Türkiye joins Germany-led defense shield project

Türkiye has joined a Germany-led defense shield project that aims to strengthen the European anti-ballistic air defense system, formally known as the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI).

Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Güler signed a letter of intent to join the initiative at a ceremony hosted by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius in Brussels on Feb. 15 on the sidelines of the Nato defense ministers meeting.

"This initiative, led by Germany, is an important step towards fulfilling NATO's requirements while ensuring the interoperability and integration of allies. As Türkiye, we are ready to contribute to this initiative with our wide range of national capabilities," Güler said at the ceremony.

"I would like to thank Germany for its coordinating role in this important initiative. We will be pleased to work with you in this initiative serving the collective defense understanding," the minister added.

Along with Türkiye, Greece also joined the initiative on the same day. Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias signed the letter of intent on behalf of the Greek government.

Launched by Germany in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the initiative aims to strengthen NATO's Integrated Air and Missile Defense by facilitating the multinational acquisition and integration of a broad range of air defense capabilities by European countries. It aims to increase the capabilities of the NATO countries in defending their territories against short, medium and long-range ballistic attacks.

It also aims to develop and purchase efficient and low-cost anti-ballistic air defense systems for the allies. The allies will also support each other in procuring such systems and act together when necessary.

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