'Turkey questions Israeli access to US missile data'

US: Intelligence gathered by regional anti-missile defense system would not be available to any non-NATO countries, including Israel.

Iron Dome 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Iron Dome 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Turkey has asked US officials whether or not non-NATO countries will have access to intelligence and data gathered by a proposed anti-missile defense system, according to sources quoted in the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman on Monday.
In response, the US has said that the intelligence gathered by sensors in the system would not be available to any non-NATO countries, including Israel.
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According toToday's Zaman, many in Turkey believe that the secret role of the US-proposed defense system is to protect Israel from a potential Iranian missile attack. Israel is not a member of NATO, however, and is not eligible for protection from the NATO system. In addition, Israel already has its own missile protection system which can counter threats in the region.
Today's Zaman also mentions that "it is possible that the missile defense system could even be used against Israel some day in the future." Since NATO "operates on the principle of collective defense...an attack on an ally is considered an attack on the entire alliance."
Turkey has been involved in discussions over the defense shield with the US and has not publicly rejected the American requests to participate with the system. However, Turkey is concerned that the deployment of the system may tarnish its relationship with Iran, who in recent years has upgraded economic and security relations with the country.
Turkish officials have urged that the goal of the project be for defensive purposes rather than the contrary. "Any clear reference to Iran or any other neighboring country as a threat...runs counter to Ankara’s chief foreign policy objective: 'zero problems' with neighbors," said the newspaper.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutgolu has been convinced that countries should not be named as sources of threats since threats are highly fluid in the world today, said the newspaper.