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    U.S. soldiers stand beside a U.S. Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, in this October 10, 2014 file photo

    Patriot Anti-Missile Deployment in Turkey Dismissed as ‘Political Stunt’

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    The decision by the United States to deploy Patriot missile batteries in Turkey would not defend the nation from any realistic threats and is meant to extend US influence in the region and provoke Russia, international analysts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "The United States wants to exert its power and strength now wherever it can to further antagonize Russia," global peace campaigner and Nobel prize winner Dr. Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, told Sputnik on Friday.

    On Thursday, Russian ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko told Sputnik in an interview that the deployment of the Patriot systems in Turkey was being justified by a non-existent threat of missile attack.

    Caldicott, author of "War in Heaven" and a global expert on nuclear and ballistic missile threats, agreed with Grushko’s analysis.

    Deploying the Patriot systems "makes no sense from a military point of view: None at all," she said.

    Turkey was going along with the ploy to win favor in both Washington and Brussels, Caldicott explained.

    "Turkey wants to be part of the European Union," she added.

    The move was puzzling since Turkey has been a NATO member for 60 years and enjoys the umbrella of protection the alliance provides, she recalled.

    AntiWar.com senior analyst Jason Ditz agreed that the deployments of the Patriot missiles in Turkey, which began following the June 2012 shoot-down of a Turkish warplane off the Syrian coast, could best be described as a political deployment.

    "What that really means is that there's no strategic reason for such deployments, and no real point to having them there, except for showing that NATO is ‘doing something’ to support Turkey in theory," he explained.

    The weapon system has been rotated in and out of Turkey for about four years, Ditz recalled.

    "They have been mostly couched as ‘anti-ISIS [Islamic State] deployments even though nothing ISIS has it is remotely appropriate for a Patriot missile to respond to," he pointed out.

    Russia's concern with the presence of Patriot batteries is that they would be used in a scenario in which NATO imposes a no-fly zone over northern Syria, something Turkey has been pushing for years, Ditz noted.

    "Since Russia operates warplanes in northern Syria regularly, a no-fly zone would be directly against their own regional interests," he said.

    However, since the Islamic State has no known missile or air capabilities of its own, deploying the missile defense technology against it is a meaningless gesture, Ditz concluded.

    Related:

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    US Pulls Patriot Missiles From Turkey to Improve Relations With Russia?
    Patriot Missiles Are 'Powerless' for Defending Turkey
    US to Return Patriot Missiles to Turkey Within 1 Week if Needed - Pentagon
    US Removes Two Patriots From Turkey for Modernization Needs - State Dep't
    Good Riddance: US to Withdraw Patriot Missiles From Turkey
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    Patriot missile system, Turkey, United States
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