NATO will continue to monitor and assess ballistic missile threat to Turkey from Syria, according to the declaration issued after the first day of NATO Summit in Brussels.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) talks to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2nd L) during the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) talks to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (2nd L) during the 2018 NATO Summit at NATO headquarters on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. ( NATO pool / AA )

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended his first major international event since his re-election, the opening ceremony of the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

The two-day NATO summit kicked off with the attendance of 29 NATO heads of state and government to discuss increased defence spending, the fight against terrorism and modernising the alliance's command structure.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hosted an official welcome ceremony for the leaders in the Agora area at the entrance of NATO Headquarters.

After the ceremony, 29 NATO heads of state and government also visited an exhibition on the organisation’s history and activities along with Stoltenberg.

The summit is set to review steps to adapt NATO to current security threats, as well as exchange views on threats to Euro-Atlantic security, the Turkish presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a session held with the attendance of Georgia and Ukraine’s heads of state, improving relations between NATO and those countries will be discussed, it said.

Additionally, the matters pertaining to ongoing tension between the EU and the US, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Iran and climate agreements are expected to be discussed in the summit.

The alliance is also expected to affirm its support to Afghanistan.

The summit will also affirm NATO’s “open-door policy” in the Euro-Atlantic region for peace and stability.

Erdogan is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts on the summit's sidelines.

NATO to ‘monitor’ ballistic missile threat to Turkey

NATO will continue to monitor and assess ballistic missile threat to Turkey from Syria, according to the declaration issued after the first day of NATO Summit in Brussels.

"We remain concerned that Turkey has been hit three times in the last four years by missiles launched from Syria. We continue to monitor and assess the ballistic missile threat from Syria," the declaration said.

Pointing to Syria's inventory of short-range ballistic missiles, the declaration said the range of these missiles "covers part of NATO’s territory and some of our partners’ territories."

It also drew attention that the Syrian regime had used these missiles extensively against its own population.

"The increasing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the vicinity of the south-east border of the Alliance has been and remains a driver in NATO’s development and deployment of a ballistic missile defence system, which is configured to counter threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area," it added.

NATO also vowed to provide Turkey with “tailored assurance measures” aimed at guaranteeing alliance’s security.

"Tailored assurance measures for Turkey to respond to the growing security challenges from the south contribute to the security of the Alliance as a whole, and will be fully implemented," the declaration said.

"We have increased the strength of the NATO Response Force, and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is ready to deploy on short notice," it added.

Since 2014, NATO has implemented Assurance Measures (AM) which comprise a series of land, sea and air activities in, on and around the eastern part of Alliance territory.

In late 2015, NATO allies agreed on a package of Tailored Assurance Measures for Turkey (TAMT) to respond to the increasing security challenges on Turkish borders.

These measures include additional AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) surveillance aircraft presence in the region; increased maritime activities in the Eastern Mediterranean; and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance activities and information sharing.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies