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Top Turkish officials gather for anti-missile shield

Ankara held high-level preparatory talks Friday ahead of the NATO Summit scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in Lisbon, to discuss a United States-led proposal to deploy a much-debated missile defense system on Turkish soil.

The gathering was hosted by President Abdullah Gül and was attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other high-level officials. The country is on the verge of deciding whether to adopt the proposal, with leaders expected to announce whether Turkey will sign on to deploying the missile defense system soon.

Turkey has demanded that countries such as Iran not be cited as threats in official NATO documents detailing the planned defensive shield. Ankara also wants the deployment of the shield to cover the territory of all NATO allies, as well as protect the entire territory of Turkey, two conditions that Turkey has already conveyed to both the U.S. and NATO.

“We have not reached a settlement with the parties and we have not made a decision yet,” Foreign Ministry officials told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review before the gathering Friday, which was still continuing when the Daily News went press.

Turkey’s decision regarding the issue is anticipated to be announced at the upcoming NATO summit, where NATO leaders are also expected to sign off on a strategic concept dossier that will replace the current one written in 1999.

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