Turkey Chosen for NATO's Missile Shield over 'Technical Reasons' - Bulgarian FM

Turkey Chosen for NATO's Missile Shield over 'Technical Reasons' - Bulgarian FM

There were no political reasons for the fact that Turkey was chosen over Bulgaria to host the radar of the US/NATO missile defense system in Europe, according to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov.

"The decision was purely technical, not political," Mladenov declared in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio on Thursday. His country was also considered as a possible location for the radar.

Bulgaria's top diplomat spoke during his official visit to Turkey, where he met his Turkish counterpart Ahmed Davutoglu.

As recently as June 2011, senior officials from the Bulgarian government indicated that Bulgaria would be ready to host the US/NATO missile shield radar if Turkey refused to do so. At the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Turkey formally backed NATO plans to build a missile defense system, saying it would also contribute to national defense against the growing threat of ballistic missile proliferation.

During its summit in November 2010 in Lisbon, NATO agreed to adopt the previously purely US missile shield project as its own. The summit did cast some serious doubts over Turkey's participation in the missile defense system because it insisted that its Muslim neighbors Iran and Syria should not be mentioned as a source of threat in the respective documents, and eventually prevailed.

Ankara insisted that the proposed system should provide protection for all territories of member states and that reference to any country would undermine the defensive nature of the shield by antagonizing countries singled out as a threat.

In his interview on Thursday, Nikolay Mladenov also confirmed that  the governments of Bulgaria and Turkey will hold a joint sitting at the end of November. However, he said the exact date and place for the event are yet to be determined.

/Source: Sofia News Agency/

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