Tur­key ex­pects more from NATO, FM tells Stoltenberg

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

FOR­EIGN Min­is­ter Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on NATO to show more sup­port to Tur­key in the face of threats posed by var­i­ous ter­ror­ist groups and wel­comed the ob­jec­tive stance of NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg in re­la­tion to the is­sue. Tur­key has crit­i­cized its NATO part­ners over their sup­port for the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ), the PKK and its sev­eral af­fil­i­ates. Speak­ing in a joint press con­fer­ence with the NATO chief in Ankara yes­ter­day, Çavuşoğlu said, “We ex­pect more sup­port from NATO in our fight against ter­ror groups. NATO was es­tab­lished to pro­tect its mem­bers from threats. There­fore, in or­der to pro­tect the mem­bers from threats re­gard­less of where these threats come from, we need to work to­gether.”

UN­DER­LIN­ING that Tur­key has been fight­ing against all ter­ror groups and it is against dou­ble stan­dards in the fight against ter­ror­ism, Çavuşoğlu said the NATO chief has been shar­ing the same un­der­stand­ing as well.

Çavuşoğlu high­lighted that as Tur­key will con­tinue to sup­port the ef­forts of the NATO alliance, NATO needs to ful­fill the ex­pec­ta­tions of Tur­key.

Mark­ing his sev­enth visit to Ankara, Stoltenberg said, “the high num­ber of vis­its re­flect the deeply val­ued role Tur­key plays in the alliance.”

Stoltenberg added that “Tur­key means a lot for the alliance de­spite fac­ing se­ri­ous se­cu­rity chal­lenges. No other NATO ally has suf­fered as many at­tacks as Tur­key.” Touch­ing on the in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion stem­ming from the on­go­ing civil war in neigh­bor­ing Syria, Stoltenberg praised that Tur­key has opened its doors to 3.5 mil­lion Syr­ian refugees. He added that “Tur­key does not stand alone. NATO stands with you in sol­i­dar­ity.”


In the face of grow­ing threats posed against its na­tional se­cu­rity, Tur­key has stepped up its ef­forts to fight against ter­ror­ism. In line with that, Oper­a­tion Olive Branch was launched on Jan. 20 against the PKK’s Syr­ian off­shoot in Afrin, Syria. Tur­key con­ducted the oper­a­tion pay­ing the ut­most care in or­der to avoid civil­ian ca­su­al­ties and took con­trol of the Afrin city cen­ter on March 18.

Com­ment­ing on Tur­key’s oper­a­tion, Stoltenberg said, “For­eign Min­is­ter Çavuşoğlu briefed me on Op- er­a­tion Olive Branch, and I am grate­ful for Tur­key’s con­tin­ued trans­parency on this.”


Stoltenberg high­lighted that NATO strongly con­demns the re­peated use of chem­i­cal weapons by the Syr­ian regime. “Those re­spon­si­ble must be held ac­count­able,” he said.

Fol­low­ing the use of chem­i­cal weapons by the Syr­ian regime, the U.S., the U.K. and France hit Syria with airstrikes early on Satur­day in re­sponse to a sus­pected poi­son gas at­tack that killed more than 70 civil­ians last week, in the big­gest in­ter­ven­tion yet by West­ern pow­ers against Syr­ian regime leader Bashar As­sad. The for­eign min­is­ter stressed that Tur­key will not leave its prin­ci­ples re­fer­ring to the use of chem­i­cal weapons. He said that Tur­key’s ties with Rus­sia are not an al­ter­na­tive to NATO and added that it should not un­der­mine the ties with the lat­ter as well.

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