NATO’s Malatya-based ballistic missile early warning radar system will begin functioning next week, a senior Turkish official said Dec 23, reiterating that the device “is defensive and not directed at any particular country, especially Iran.”
“The early warning radar system will become operational next week, before the end of this year,” an official said.
The device in the eastern province of Malatya will start functioning only after NATO approves a bilateral deal between Turkey and the United States detailing the terms of deployment. A NATO committee will meet next week to finalize the process and press the button activating the radar, said the official, who did not want to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media.
The agreement signed between Ankara and Washington calls for the deployment of a U.S. AN/TPY-2 (X-band) early warning radar system at a military installation at Kürecik in Malatya as part of NATO’s missile defense project.
According to the agreement, around 50 U.S. soldiers will be deployed at the installations, accompanied by a number of Turkish troops. Though the deal will expire in two years, the parties can extend the mandate.
In addition, a Turkish senior commander is to be posted at NATO’s headquarters in Germany, where the intelligence gathered through the radar system will be processed, Hurriyet Daily News reported.