(Reuters) - Turkey expects NATO to make a decision about deploying surface-to-air Patriot missiles along its southern border with Syria within the next week, Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Saturday.
Turkey asked NATO for the Patriot system, designed to intercept aircraft or missiles, on Wednesday after weeks of talks about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border as the conflict in Syria deepens.
NATO said it would discuss the request "without delay" but the move has riled Syria, which called it "provocative", as well its allies, including Russia and Iran, who are hostile to any development that they perceive could be a first step towards implementing a no-fly zone.
"We asked for Patriots from NATO taking into account the critical situation that emerged on our border with Syria ... The aim is for the protection of the widest possible area in Turkey," Yilmaz told reporters.