Iranian ballistic missile 311 (R).
(photo credit: Fars News / Reuters)
Turkey went out of its way to ensure Israel had no access to data from the NATO-backed missile defense system to be built on its territory, the Turkish Today's Zaman reported Monday.
According the report, "Turkey went to great lengths in protracted negotiations with the US to secure guarantees that the data to be collected by the system will not be shared with ally-turned-foe Israel and that Israel's nemesis Iran will never be mentioned as a threat."
In an interview with Today's Zaman
published Monday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Iranians need not worry about the missile defense system if they are not planning an attack.
"You can only consider our missile defense system a threat if you have an intention or an idea that you want to attack a NATO territory," Rasmussen said.
Addressing the tense relationship between Turkey and Israel, Rasmussen said, "I hope that Turkey and Israel can find peaceful ways to settle this dispute, because Israel is actually a member of one of our partnerships, called the Mediterranean Dialogue. Israel is a valued partner and we need a positive relationship between a staunch ally and a valued partner.”
Rasmussen also said Iran's threat to block the Strait of Hormuz was “in contradiction with Iran's international obligations," and that Russian cooperation on missile defense was lower than hoped.