Head of NATO calls on mem­bers to back Tur­key on ter­ror

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg urged mem­ber states to pro­vide more sup­port to Tur­key in the face of se­cu­rity-re­lated chal­lenges and Ankara’s fight against ter­ror­ist groups in an in­ter­view with Anadolu Agency (AA) ahead of his of­fi­cial visit ex­pected to­day. “There’s a lot of NATO pres­ence in Tur­key, but I call on the al­lies to pro­vide even more sup­port,” Stoltenberg said in the in­ter­view that took place at the NATO head­quar­ters in Brus­sels and was pub­lished yes­ter­day. The NATO chief said the aim of his visit to Ankara is to “to pre­pare for the up­com­ing [NATO] sum­mit in Brus­sels in July,” and that he is ex­pected to meet with Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, De­fense Min­is­ter Nuret­tin Canikli, and also For­eign Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

STOLTENBERG said he highly val­ues the visit to Tur­key, as he sees the coun­try it is “a highly val­ued and key ally for many rea­sons, not just for its strate­gic lo­ca­tion.” He added that dur­ing the visit he will “dis­cuss the prepa­ra­tions for the im­por­tant sum­mit where we will ad­dress is­sues like how we con­tinue to adapt NATO to a more de­mand­ing se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment.”

He said that NATO func­tions with the sol­i­dar­ity prin­ci­ple “one for all and all for one” and added: “We have de­ployed mis­sile bat­ter­ies that are aug­ment­ing the mis­sile air de­fenses of Tur­key. We have Italy and Spain de­ploy­ing Pa­triot bat­ter­ies and also SAMP-T bat­ter­ies, and we con­duct sur­veil­lance flights with our AWACS planes over Tur­key. We have also in­creased our naval pres­ence in the east­ern Mediter­ranean. There are also other NATO ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing

in­fra­struc­ture, ex­er­cises, and we have our land com­mand in Izmir.” Stoltenberg said, while these ac­tiv­i­ties and also po­lit­i­cal sup­port is given by NATO, Tur­key must still get more sup­port from the al­lies “be­cause Tur­key is the NATO ally that has suf­fered the most from ter­ror­ist at­tacks.”

Stoltenberg said that a train­ing mis­sion will be es­tab­lished in Iraq to pro­vide train­ing to Iraqi sol­diers and “help to build mil­i­tary acad­e­mies and schools to help Iraqis sta­bi­lize their own coun­try, fight ter­ror­ism,” while he added it is NATO’s de­sire for Tur­key to also play a key role in the pro­gram.

Tur­key has been fight­ing Daesh, the PKK, and the PKK’s Syr­ian af­fil­i­ate, the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG), ter­ror­ist groups si­mul­ta­ne­ously. How­ever, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has crit­i­cized NATO al­lies, par­tic­u­larly the U.S., for a lack of sup­port in the fight against ter­ror­ism. The U.S. sup-

ports the YPG in Syria un­der the pre­text of fight against Daesh, which has strained ties be­tween Ankara and Wash­ing­ton.

Stoltenberg high­lighted Ankara’s deter­mined stance against Daesh, say­ing Tur­key’s ef­forts against Daesh have been “key in the fight against Daesh. Tur­key has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the ef­forts of NATO al­lies and the global coali­tion against Daesh.”

Tur­key launched Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield to clear Daesh ter­ror­ists from north­ern Syria af­ter the in­creas­ing at­tacks on Tur­key from the group. Euphrates Shield was launched in Aug. 2016 and ended in March 2017, clear­ing a 2,000-kilo­me­ter-square area, in­clud­ing the towns of Jarablus, al-Bab, Dabiq, and al-Rai.

In ad­di­tion, Tur­key also launched Op­er­a­tion Olive Branch on Jan. 20 against the YPG in north­west­ern Afrin, to

elim­i­nate the YPG. “We rec­og­nize Tur­key’s le­git­i­mate se­cu­rity con­cerns, which we ex­pect to be ad­dressed in a pro­por­tion­ate and mea­sured way. We all un­der­stand that Tur­key has to ad­dress these threats,” Stoltenberg said. “We wel­come that Tur­key has been trans­par­ent and briefed NATO sev­eral times on the op­er­a­tion in Afrin, both the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions and the hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance,” he added.

Com­ment­ing on Tur­key’s de­ci­sion to pur­chase S-400 mis­sile de­fense sys­tems from Rus­sia, Stoltenberg re­it­er­ated his pre­vi­ous com­ments on the is­sue, say­ing: “It is a na­tional de­ci­sion to ac­quire mil­i­tary equip­ment and ca­pa­bil­i­ties and it is also a na­tional de­ci­sion to sell and to buy. So that is not de­cided by NATO, it is de­cided by al­lies.” He added that Tur­key’s agree­ments with Italy and France in the EUROSAM con­sor­tium to start de­vel­op­ing mis­sile and air de­fense sys­tems is “wel­comed.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.