Հայ-թուրքական հարաբերությունների շուրջ
WASHINGTON—Turkey has agreed to station a high-powered U.S. radar on its territory as part of a missile defense system to protect NATO allies from the threat of long-range Iranian rockets.
The deal for Turkey to host the so-called X-Band radar at one of its military bases accelerates deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-backed early warning system.
The deal could also ratchet up tensions between Turkey and Iran, which sees the system as a threat.
Relations between Ankara and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months, particularly over differences over how to respond to Syria’s violent crackdown on antiregime demonstrations. Turkey has condemned the violence and appears to be moving increasingly toward breaking with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Iran is supporting Mr. Assad, providing him with equipment and know-how to put down the demonstrations, U.S. officials say.
A senior U.S. defense official said the goal was to have the AN/TPY-2 radar in place in Turkey before the end of this year.
A site has already been identified for the radar at a Turkish military installation. The senior defense official declined to identify its location.
Negotiations with Turkey over hosting the radar started earlier this year and picked up pace in June.
Turkey was concerned that data collected at the radar site could be shared real time with Israel.
U.S. officials told Turks that the United States has a “separate and robust” missile defense relationship with Israel, where the United States based a high-powered X-Band radar in 2008 to bolster Israel’s missile defenses. The system is identical to the radar going to Turkey.
That radar can track any Iranian missile aimed at Israel.
But the U.S. made clear that data from any U.S. radars around the world may be fused with other data to maximize the effectiveness of its missile defenses.
The sharing of data with Israel was a sensitive political issue for Turkey. Relations between the two states have frayed over Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The senior defense official attributed Turkey’s decision to host the radar to stepped up efforts by Ankara to close ranks with NATO and improve relations with the U.S.
The official playing down the impact of Syria tensions on Turkey’s decision. “I don’t think recent events played a role. They were heading in this direction,” the official said.
Turkey was one of several NATO states in talks to host the advanced X-Band radar as part of the NATO missile shield.
Several Republican senators have voiced reservations with Turkey hosting the radar because of the government’s refusal to share the data collected with Israel.
Though the radar systems in Turkey and Israel will operate separately, the senior U.S. defense official made clear the U.S. could integrate the data.
“Any U.S. radars around the world may be fused with other data to maximize the effectiveness of our missile defenses,” the official said.
President Barack Obama announced plans in September 2009 to integrate sea- and land-based missile defenses in and around its NATO allies in Europe in a system referred to as the “phased adaptive approach.”
The system slated for Turkey to protect NATO states is similar to the AN/TPY-2 radar deployed in Japan to help protect against the North Korean threat.
Under the European system, data from the new radar site in Turkey will be integrated with U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system in offshore waters.
Built by Raytheon Co, the system locks on to targets in their boost, midcourse and terminal phases. U.S. officials say the AN/TPY-2 system works best when the installations are arrayed along an arc around the perceived threat area.
U.S. intelligence agencies have long warned about Iran’s growing missile threat and officials say antiballistic missile systems should cover all of Europe by 2018.