|Dutch Patriot PAC-2 launcher. Photo: MoD|
Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp was there to see the military personnel off. “By baring our teeth, in a military sense”, he said, “we prevent the use of even more violence. It may sound contradictory (…), but sometimes weapons are what is needed to prevent more deaths and injuries. That is exactly how the Netherlands uses its armed forces, and we have seen this for instance in our successful counterpiracy operations.”
Tomorrow, some 30 Dutch and 20 German quartermasters will leave from Eindhoven Air Base to make preparations for the mission. The main force of around 270 Dutch military personnel will follow on 21 January.
Turkey asked NATO for assistance in protecting its population and territory from attacks by medium-range missiles from conflict hotspot Syria, its neighbour to the south. Middendorp: “The threat is a very real one. These so-called Scud missiles have a potential range of hundreds of kilometres, so they could easily hit Turkish cities.”
The Netherlands, Germany and the United States will each cover a sector, sending 2 Patriot systems each. The Dutch will be going to Adana, which with 2.1 million inhabitants is the largest city in southern Turkey.
(Ministry of Defence, The Hague, 7 January 2013)