US pressures Turkey over missile shield
Published 30/10/2010 | 05:00
Turkey's government has been told that its relationship with the West could be damaged if it rejects Nato's request to house part of a £165m (€190m) ballistic-missile defence shield designed to protect Europe from nuclear attack.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and defence secretary Robert Gates held out the warning in talks with Turkish officials ahead of the Nato summit on November 19, where a final decision will be made on the missile defence plan.
"Essentially, we've told Turkey that missile defence is an acid test of its commitment to the security arrangements it has with its Western allies," a senior US official said.
Nato's missile-defence programme is designed to protect Europe from nuclear-armed missiles that the West fears Iran may acquire in coming years.
The plan involves radar stations that can detect ballistic missile launches and advanced interceptor missiles that can shoot them down.
Turkey is critical of the project. The November 19 deadline has left Recep Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, torn between his Islamist supporters and his country's Western allies. (© Daily Telegraph, London)