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22 Aug 14. Denmark has decided to join NATO’s missile defence system, local media reported Friday. Denmark will contribute at least one frigate to NATO’s missile defense shield, the country’s Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said after a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday afternoon. “We will offer that one and more of our frigates can be outfitted with a radar that can be part of the missile defence. There was wide support for that (in the Foreign Affairs Committee),” Lidegaard was cited as saying by Denmark’s newspaper Berlingske Tidende. Denmark’s Defense Minister Nikolai Wammen emphasized that the decision to join the missile defence system is not an action aimed at Russia. “It is to protect the Danes against rogues states, terrorist organisations and others that have the capacity to fire missiles at Europe and the US,” he said. According to Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, it will cost some 400-500 million Danish kroner (71-89m U.S. dollars) to equip Danish frigates with advanced radar equipment. At the meeting, the Foreign Affairs Committee also decided that Denmark will send weapons and a contingent of troops to Iraq to fight the extremist Islamic State. (Source: Open Source Information Report/Xinhua)
21 Aug 14. Turk Ruling Party Designates New PM. Turkey’s next prime minister will be Ahmet Davutoglu, the current Foreign Minister, according to an Aug. 21 announcement by the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Davutoglu will also become the party’s chairman. The current premier and party chair, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be inaugurated as Turkey’s president on Aug. 28. Erdogan, who was elected president on Aug. 10, convened the party’s 20-member Central Executive Board (MYK) on Aug. 21 to pick a new leader for the party and the country. Party officials said Davutoglu was Erdogan?s choice; he will formally step into the job at the party congress on Aug. 27.
An academic-turned-diplomat, Davutoglu first joined Erdogan’s government as a foreign policy advisor to the prime minister. His signature theme, ‘zero problems with neighbors,’ has been mocked as ‘zero neighbors’ after Turkey was left with a legacy of failure in the Middle East and beyond. Since Davutoglu became foreign minister in 2009, Turkish foreign policy has been criticized for shifting its main strategic priorities toward Russia and China, and away from the West and the NATO military alliance. The powers granted by the Turkish constitution to the president are largely symbolic, but Erdogan made it clear that he would introduce a de facto executive presidential system. Analysts compared the situation to Russia’s, in which prime minister Vladimir Putin traded jobs with president Dmitry Medvedev yet retained his grip on governmental power. Davutoglu is expected to name his cabinet members at the end of the month. Most political analysts agree that Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz would maintain his seat. (Source: Defense News)
20 Aug 14. Austria further reduces QRA capabilities. More austerity-induced cuts are being made to Austria’s active air surveillance capabilities. The head of the combat section in the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD), Major General Karl Schmidseder, told a press conference on 20 August that the Bundesheer’s 15 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters will be held on active quick-reaction alert (QRA) for an hour less per day. Due to a combination of continuing and fresh budgetary cuts, “we have to accept gaps, also in the air”, he said. From 1 September onwards an average of 11 daytime QRA hours will be operated flexibly, as “there will be days with 14 hours on readiness while on other days it will cease in the afternoon”, said Maj Gen Schmidseder, who claimed the