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Turkey urges unconditional NATO support against terror

  • 3 Dec 2019

A NATO reform is inevitable, President Erdogan said ahead of his departure for the summit in London.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pictured at the opening ceremony of the second phase of the Trans-Anatolia pipeline in Edirne, western Turkey on November 30, 2019. ( Presidential Press Service )

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for unconditional support of NATO in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport before his departure for NATO summit in London, Erdogan said the member states should work to strengthen the alliance in the face of common threats, instead of seeking alternatives.

"A reform in NATO in line with present-day threats is inevitable,” he said.

Erdogan also mentioned that Turkey is the only country that fights hand-to-hand against the terror group Daesh and defeated it in Syria.

Turkey, France, Germany, and the UK are expected to hold a separate meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit. 

Erdogan said they would mainly discuss Turkish plans to establish a safe zone in northeast Syria, which has until now been met with criticism from Ankara 's European allies.

Separately, Turkey has been at odds with Greece and Cyprus over ownership of offshore natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Erdogan said he will also meet with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in London.

Agreement with Libya

Touching on the Turkey-Libya deal, Erdogan said this is the sovereign right of both countries, which Ankara will not discuss with France despite the latter's concerns.

The Restriction of Marine Jurisdictions, signed on Monday, determined Turkey's maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea.

Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.

"Greece can take steps, and we reserve the right to take steps. We take our steps, we will do what is needed instantly," he also said, referring to the deal.

He went on to say that he had vetoed a law on Monday that sought to delay the installation of filters on coal plants due to environmental concerns.

Turkey will not allow firms to prevent people from breathing clean air, he said.

No change in objection to NATO plan on Baltics

President Erdogan said he will not agree to a NATO defence proposal for Poland and the Baltic nations until the alliance supports Ankara's concerns related to the YPG terror group.

Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with the leaders of Poland and the Baltics during the NATO gathering.

A plan to defend the Baltic nations in case of a Russian attack requires all member states’ backing.

Turkey has long complained about NATO allies backing Baltic countries' over their security concerns but dismissing threats to Turkey from the YPG.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK which Turkey, the US and the EU recognise as a terrorist organisation.

The PKK has waged a deadly armed campaign against the Turkish state for more than the past four decades, claiming the lives of at least 40,000 people.

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