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Opposition slams Turkish government over Patriot missiles

turkiDuring a Sunday parliamentary session at which the country’s budget plan for 2013 was to be discussed, a heated debate on foreign policy broke out between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Osman Koruturk, English-language newspaperToday’s Zaman reported.

“Turkey had never lost so much dignity in the eyes of its neighbors [as it has today],” Koruturk said.

He noted that Ankara maintained good relations with Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus in the past, and even mediated negotiations between Damascus and Tel Aviv over the Golan Heights.

“Today, we are at daggers drawn with all these,” Koruturk added.

The CHP deputy leader also criticized Turkey’s relations with NATO, stressing that Turkey is far from playing an active role in the Western military contingent.

“It looks as though major NATO members are directing Turkey through the alliance,” Koruturk said.

He highlighted that Syria is being used as an excuse for the deployment of Patriot missiles, and said the real aim for such a deployment is to protect the radar in the Kurecik district of Malatya province, which reportedly protects Israel.

NATO has approved of Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles in its territory.

The agreement emerged from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on December 4 despite strong opposition from Russia, Syria and Iran.

On December 14, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed orders to authorize the plan to deploy Patriot missile batteries and about 400 troops to Turkey following the announcement of a similar move by Germany.

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