Turkish president stresses importance of alliance ahead of NATO summit

Recep Tayyip Erdogan departs for Brussels to attend NATO leaders’ summit on Monday

Handan Kazancı, Burak Dağ   | 13.06.2021
Turkish president stresses importance of alliance ahead of NATO summit


Turkey’s president on Sunday stressed the importance of the NATO military alliance ahead of its Monday summit in Brussels.

“We will take part in an important summit where decisions will be taken on the NATO 2030 process, which will determine the alliance's roadmap for the next 10 years,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before flying to Brussels.

“Turkey will once again underline the importance of alliance with its allies,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkey not only protects its own borders but also NATO’s.

“In our struggles on various fronts, we rightfully expect [NATO] to act in line with the spirit of alliance,” Erdogan added.

Meeting with Biden

Erdogan said that a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties, will be discussed during his meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the summit.

On the recent US recognition of Armenian claims about the events of 1915, Erdogan called it “unfortunate” and a “negative process.”

Asked about Turkish-US relations in the wake of the recognition, Erdogan pointed to Turkey’s long history of relations with previous US administrations.

“I can't say that we had bad days with all of them during this process. In general, we have done very, very successful work,” Erdogan said.

Noting that his meeting with Biden will not be their first, as they met numerous times before Biden became president this year, Erdogan said: “I hope that by holding these meetings with the same sensitivity, we will take steps” that will make us forget the recognition.

F35 fighter jet program

On the issue of the F-35 fighter jet program, he said that although Turkey fulfilled its pledges under the program, the US had not.

In 2019, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

The US claimed that the Russian S-400 would compromise security on the F-35s, but Turkey said these fears were baseless, and has repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.

Turning to Afghanistan, Erdogan said Turkey is the “only country that can be trusted to continue the process” after the US withdrawal from the country, set for this September.

Terror attack in Afrin

Condemning Saturday’s terrorist attack on a hospital in Afrin, northern Syria, Erdogan said it shows the treacherous and barbaric character of the YPG/PKK terror group.

The YPG/PKK’s attack on a hospital in opposition-held northwestern Syria killed at least 13 civilian patients and injured more than 27, said officials in southern Turkey.

Leaders of NATO countries at Monday’s summit will discuss the path that the military alliance will follow over the next decade in the face of challenges such as China, Russia, and cyber threats.

The leaders will gather at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the first time since 2018.

Erdogan will meet with the US president – their first meeting since Biden took office – as well as with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Turkish president is accompanied by first lady Emine Erdogan as well as Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Omer Celik, the spokesman for Turkey's Justice and Development (AK) Party, and Osman Askin Bak, the head of the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Following the summit, on Tuesday and Wednesday Erdogan will pay an official visit to Azerbaijan at the invitation of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.


Turkish president stresses importance of alliance ahead of NATO summit

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