Greece and Turkey must address the issues that have been flaring tensions between between them and this is “not an issue for NATO,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday.
Speaking to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency ahead of his visit to Turkey on Monday, Stoltenberg noted that Greece and Turkey are “two highly valued NATO allies” and that both contribute to NATO’s collective defense.
Turkey-Greece relations have hit rock-bottom over the past few months on an array of topics ranging from but not limited to Ankara’s declaration that the Imia islets (Kardak in Turkish), a previous “gray area” in the Aegean Sea, are Turkish to the continued detention of two Greek soldiers who strayed across the Turkish border on March 1.
“I expect that the differences we see on some issues are solved between Turkey and Greece in the spirit of good relations,” Stoltenberg said, adding, “In this context, I welcome that the PMs of both countries have recently held a phone conversation and that they have agreed to resolve these differences through dialogue.”
Responding to criticism that NATO is not doing enough to help Turkey in its fight against terrorism, the NATO chief noted “there’s a lot of NATO presence in Turkey but I call on the allies to provide even more support.”
“We also provide political support, because Turkey is the NATO ally that has suffered the most from terrorist attacks,” Stoltenberg added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has demanded both NATO and Western support for Turkey’s fight against terrorist organizations, slamming them for their failure to help and stating that ‘’terror will one day also hit them like a boomerang.’’