Rasmussen says NATO has plans to defend Turkey if needed

BRUSSELS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The head of NATO said on Tuesdaythe military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkeyagainst attack if needed.

"We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defendTurkey if necessary," Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussentold reporters before a meeting of the alliance's defenceministers in Brussels.

Following Syrian gunfire and shelling, NATO ambassadorsthrew their support behind Turkey in an emergency meeting lastweek. Turkish forces have retaliated against the bombardmentfrom northern Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's forcesare battling rebels.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft. Writing by Sebastian Moffett;Editing by Janet Lawrence)