"Türkiye asks NATO members to back Ankara's fight against terrorism" - M5 Dergi
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“Türkiye asks NATO members to back Ankara’s fight against terrorism”

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Next year’s informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers meeting to be held in Türkiye, says Hakan Fidan

Türkiye has asked NATO members to support Ankara in its fight against terrorism, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Thursday.

“We underlined that NATO member countries should fully and unconditionally support Türkiye in the fight against terrorism,” Fidan told reporters in Brussels.

Fidan’s remarks came after a two-day NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, where he also held sideline talks with his counterparts.

During his talks, Fidan said he also emphasized that some NATO member countries should not cooperate with the terrorist organization, particularly in Syria.

“We said this is against the spirit of the NATO alliance,” he added.

Stressing that it was agreed upon the appointment of a counter-terrorism coordinator at last year’s Vilnius Summit, Fidan said efforts are continuing for NATO to look at the fight against terrorism “structurally.”

The minister said he discussed with his counterparts the activities of the terrorist organization PKK in Europe.

“What is sad for them (European countries) is that the terrorist organization, which they have been silent about for years, is terrorizing their own streets. It is not a surprise to us that they are seeing these things now,” he added.

Fidan said the countries should not only condemn the terror group’s acts of violence against the Turkish nationals living in Europe, but also they should take “very serious” measures to combat it.

“I see authorities increasingly becoming more sensitive in Europe. This is actually a pleasing issue. I see that tolerance towards PKK is gradually decreasing. This is important,” he added.

In its nearly 40-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Next NATO secretary-general

Turning to the 75th anniversary of NATO’s founding, Fidan said Türkiye has been an important member of the alliance since 1952.

“It has been contributing to NATO for 72 years. Our armed forces actively participate in NATO missions,” he added.

Fidan announced that the informal NATO foreign minister meeting will be held in Türkiye next year.

About the race for being the next NATO chief, Fidan said he recently met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who announced his bid to become the next secretary-general.

“It is possible that he will visit Türkiye soon. We are working on a date,” he said.

Stoltenberg’s term is scheduled to end on Oct. 1 after ten years.

Recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Rutte in a phone call that Ankara would back a candidate to be NATO’s new chief based on its expectations and needs.

Erdogan emphasized the need for the new secretary-general to best serve the security and interests of members in the fight against terrorism and other challenges, bolster the unity of the alliance, prioritize NATO’s fundamental duty, and deliver convincing commitments to uphold the alliance’s core values and established practices, as well as consider the sensitivities of non-EU allies.

Stressing that Türkiye clearly expressed his expectation that the process carried out with current chief Jens Stoltenberg will be put forward by the new secretary-general, Fidan said: “I think our president will also announce his decision (soon).”

Regional issues

About the restrictions on Türkiye in the defense industry, Fidan said he told his counterparts that they are not “compatible with the spirit of the alliance and that the restrictions should be removed.”

Regarding the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Fidan said Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba gave information about the war during the meeting.

Türkiye emphasized that it stands by Ukraine’s security and sovereignty, and underlined that alternative ways to peace and cease-fire should be sought to stop the war, he added.

Fidan also said he discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip with his counterparts on the sidelines of the NATO meeting and voiced concern over the “unbearable” situation in the enclave.

“In particular, we have repeatedly raised the need for a cease-fire, urgent humanitarian aid and a two-state solution perspective. Here’s the good thing. Now, all our counterparts almost agree with us.

“It is important for the international community to reach this understanding during the process in terms of diplomatic gains, but more needs to be done in terms of changing something on the ground. Our determination on this issue continues,” he added.

President Erdogan’s visit to US

During his sideline meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Brussels, Fidan said they also discussed the upcoming visit of Erdogan to the US upon the invitation of his counterpart Joe Biden.

Fidan said Erdogan’s agenda will include different issues, including bilateral and regional relations, with Gaza coming first among these.

Stressing that the Ukraine issue will also be on the agenda, Fidan said: “These two wars concern our region. At the same time, they both trigger global fault lines and there are other risk areas that they will trigger. Our president will continue to draw attention to them and emphasize our sensitivities on these issues.”

Fidan said enhancement of the relations in other areas, such as economy, technology, and trade, will also be on the agenda.

Erdogan’s perspective is to remove Turkish-American relations from being “solely security-oriented” and to create a “more balanced and broader” set of relations, he added.

Source: AA

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