Turkey, World

‘Turkey’s borders are NATO’s borders'

Terror group's threats against Turkey should also be regarded threats against NATO, says country's communications director

Zehra Nur Düz   | 05.12.2019
‘Turkey’s borders are NATO’s borders'

ANKARA

Multiple threats Turkey faces from international terrorist groups should be considered threats against NATO as well, the country’s communications director reiterated early Thursday following a NATO summit in London.

“We must be on the same page about something as simple as identifying a terror organization,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.

Altun stressed that some of Turkey’s allies have supported, promoted and legitimized the PKK/YPG terror group, which recruits children, conducts ethnic cleansing and forces the migration of civilians.

Altun underlined that the PKK/YPG must be treated for what they are: a “murderous terrorist organization” and a “threat to regional and international security.”

Praising Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria, Altun said that close to 400,000 Syrians have returned to their country thanks to Operation Peace Spring.

“Our military operations are not only about fighting terrorists but establishing the conditions for the safe return of Syrians and ensuring stability in the region,” he said.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from a planned Syrian safe zone.

Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Altun also underlined that NATO needs a strategy to address the “increasingly complex challenges of our time.”

“We often find issues of terrorism, refugees, regional strategy all wrapped up together to pose security threats to our alliance,” Altun said, adding this reality must be recognized for a stronger alliance.

Altun also shared data about Turkey's NATO defense spending.

Turkey’s defense spending has reached 1.89% of its GDP with a 53% increase over the past five years, according to data he shared.

“We’ll reach 2% by 2024 as was agreed in Wales Summit,” Altun said.

He also stressed that Turkey has 1,200 service members participating in various NATO missions.

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