Following the withdrawal of Patriot missile defence systems that were stationed in southern Turkey as a part of a NATO mission by the US and Germany, the eyes were on Spain, which is the third country that had contributed Patriot systems to Turkey.
Spain’s defence minister Pedro Morenes said on Sunday that the Patriot air defense missiles would continue to be stationed in Turkey unless NATO asks for a withdrawal, according to a report of Spanish daily the La Razon.
"Spain will continue its [Patriot] mission in Turkey as long as NATO asks," Morenes said.
Spain’s Patriot air defense missiles had arrived in Turkey on Jan. 9, taking over the duty of Netherlands as part of a NATO mission.
After a request from Turkey, the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany deployed the systems in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, some 160 km away from Syrian border, as a measure to prevent missiles that may threaten Turkey.
A Joint Statement from the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the US declared on Aug. 16 that the US air and missile defence units in Turkey, which are due to return back to US in October, “will not be renewed beyond the end of the current rotation.”
The announcement also stated that the US authorities, in the case of an emergency, are prepared to facilitate deployment of the system, and prepared to return the necessary assets and personnel to Turkey within a week.
The US Patriot Missile Defence System has been active in Turkey as a part of a NATO mission since 2013.
Also, German Defence Ministry on Aug. 14 confirmed that Germany is preparing for an early withdrawal of its Patriot Missile Defence System and the 260 soldiers operating for the NATO mission in Turkey.
The leave of the German soldiers and Patriot systems were set for the end of January 2016 and until then the number of the troops was to be increased to 400, before the unexpected decision of withdrawal.