Türkİye, World

NATO needs to be sensitive to Türkiye's terrorism concerns: Top diplomat

Türkiye and NATO allies, including US, UK, have 'trust problem' over PKK/YPG terrorist organization, says Hakan Fidan

Sumeyye Dilara Dincer, Tugba Altun and Gokhan Celiker  | 25.06.2024 - Update : 25.06.2024
NATO needs to be sensitive to Türkiye's terrorism concerns: Top diplomat


NATO needs to be sensitive to Türkiye’s concerns about the fight against terrorism, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Monday.

"What is important for us is, firstly, that the Alliance develops sensitivity in the fight against terrorism in a way that will understand and include Türkiye's concerns," Fidan told the Haberturk news channel.

His remarks came ahead of a NATO summit in Washington, D.C. on July 9-11.

Stressing that NATO member countries should not impose restrictions on each other's defense industry products, Fidan said: "Our expectations on this issue continue like this. There are still some problem areas. They need to be resolved."

Regarding the "trust problem" between Türkiye and NATO allies over the PKK/YPG terrorist organization, he said: "The countries we have problems with regarding the YPG are America, England and a little bit with France...In order to maintain its (YPG) presence there, it is present in all operations where America is involved…We express this problem at every level."

Underlining that this is against the spirit of the Alliance, Fidan said that Türkiye is continuing the highest level of diplomacy possible and that "it can no longer live with such a reality."

"We carry more sensitivity in our fight against the PKK than you (the US and the UK) do in your fight against terrorism, just on the other side of our border. It is out of the question for us to engage in any negotiations here," he said, adding Türkiye will resolutely continue its fight against terrorism.

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

Gaza war

Turning to the ongoing Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, Fidan said: "The Israeli system, led by the Netanyahu government, has a policy of using Hamas as an excuse to completely destroy the Palestinian resistance movement and to legitimize and institutionalize the occupation it has been continuing for years."

Fidan emphasized that after Oct. 7, 2023, Israel revealed its "systematic war plan" to turn the events to its own advantage.

He stressed that European states and the US did not stop Israel's policy; on the contrary, they supported it.

The two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, the cessation of war, and the issue of humanitarian aid are now "extremely important," he said.

The Gaza war is an "extremely important" issue in terms of the course of the current system in the world, since the vast majority sides with the Palestinians, Fidan said, adding the US and some European states do not support the two-state solution and do not react to Israel for "stealing someone else's land."

Pointing out that these countries should support the efforts of the Palestinians to establish a state, Fidan said in this way, Jews, Christians and Muslims can live in peace in the region.

He added that the world now faces the danger of the spread of the war and emphasized that this risk will continue "as long as Israel continues its genocide."

Stressing that the conflict is likely to turn into a major war and attract other actors, Fidan said that Türkiye has warned European countries and regional actors about the Greek Cypriot administration, which has become "an operations center."

"After October 7, after the first operations launched by Israel, we always see through intelligence reports that the Greek Cypriot administration has become a base used by certain countries, especially in operations against Gaza. Intelligence flights and military flights towards Gaza are constantly carried out there.

"When we brought this to the agenda, they suddenly declared this place a logistics base for Gaza. This logistics base’s operation has clearly turned into an activity that hides the fact that the place is actually a military base. The fact that this place and the Greek islands are used for operations towards the Middle East will benefit neither Greek Cyprus nor Greece. Our advice, we also told the Greeks, is to stay away from these places, because when you get involved in the ongoing wars in the Middle East, when you take sides, this fire will come and find you too. We are already in the same geography. It will come and find us too," he added.

Fidan emphasized that regional actors should see that there is serious militarization in Southern Cyprus and that this should be prevented.

Tensions have also soared along Lebanon's border with Israel amid cross-border attacks between the Lebanese Hezbollah group and Israeli forces as Tel Aviv presses ahead with its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 37,600 people since Oct. 7 last year.

Russia-Ukraine war

Fidan said he was in Russia recently to attend the BRICS+ meeting in Nizhny Novgorod and to hold talks in the capital Moscow, where he was received by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

There is a possibility that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Putin in Kazakhstan in the coming days, he said.

Turning to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Fidan said: "We are in a situation where more than 500,000 people have died, a country's infrastructure and superstructure are about to be destroyed, millions of people have been displaced and the war has moved into Russia. We are no longer in a position to handle this spread.”

Regarding whether there is a basis for the Istanbul negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine, he noted that he has always seen a basis for the negotiation process and pointed out that it is important whether the parties want to use this ground.

"This risk will continue as long as the war continues. There is no escape from this because both sides will have to use different qualified weapons and different game-changing methods in order to cause more damage to each other. Everything is in effect. Therefore, after proxies come into play, this spark has the opportunity to spread to other places," he added.


Evaluating the situation in Syria, Fidan said: "The most important thing that both the Russians and our side have achieved so far regarding Syria is that the war between the regime and the opposition does not continue as of now."

"We would like the Syrian regime to use this period of non-conflict, this period of silence, wisely. Let them use all these years as an opportunity to solve their constitutional problems, make peace with their opponents, bring back millions of people who have fled abroad, left or emigrated and rebuild the country and revitalize its economy. But we see that this (opportunity) is not used enough," he said.

Türkiye believes that Syria, which has achieved a little more stability and has become integrated with its government and opposition, will be a more effective actor, especially in the fight against PKK terrorism, he added.

"The presence of Russia in Syria, the presence of Iran, Israel's constant operations, and the presence of various militia groups further complicate the issue. In this complexity, it is important that we constantly pursue a dynamic policy to protect our national interests," Fidan underlined.


Fidan emphasized that it is important for Europe to cooperate with Türkiye to become a "more independent and confident" geostrategic actor.

Upon a question on how Türkiye will be affected by the rise of the far right in Europe, Fidan explained that the far right in Europe is considered a "threat" category.

"We also perceive issues that pose a threat to our compatriots living abroad as threats. Not just within our borders. The far right has a very criminal history in Europe, especially against the Turkish and Muslim masses," he added.

Turning to Türkiye's desire to join BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Fidan said it is not an "axis shift.”

Asked whether BRICS is an alternative to the G7, Fidan said: "The G7 is a place where countries that think about more political issues, the same strategic goals and the same field of civilization come together. BRICS, on the other hand, is a platform that started for economic purposes at that point."

Stating that BRICS is a platform that includes all civilizations, races and religions compared to the EU, Fidan explained that the platform can produce serious benefits when it is structured and institutionalized, as in the EU.

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