NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg drew attention to already existing NATO presence in Turkey and called on all allies to provide more support to the country.
“We also provide political support, because Turkey is the NATO ally that has suffered the most from terrorist attacks. NATO immediately condemned the coup attempt that targeted Turkey’s democratic institutions,” the secretary-general said.
Stoltenberg spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels ahead of his official visit to Turkey on April 16.
When asked about NATO’s approach to Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syrian region of Afrin, Stoltenberg said NATO welcomed Turkey’s transparency.
“We’re aware that there are some challenges related to the situation in northern Syria and around Afrin. NATO has been a platform for direct dialogue between Turkey and the U.S. We recognize Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, which we expect to be addressed in a proportionate and measured way,” NATO chief said.
“We all understand that Turkey has to address these threats. We welcome that Turkey has been transparent and briefed NATO several times on the operation in Afrin, both the military operations and the humanitarian assistance.”
Stoltenberg reiterated the alliance’s position regarding Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile defense systems, saying it was “a national decision.” He also welcomed Turkey’s agreement with Italy and France, in the EUROSAM consortium to start to develop missile and air defense systems as well as reports of talks between Ankara and Washington on the sale of Patriot batteries.
Speaking about the recent tension between Turkey and Greece, Stoltenberg said “it isnot an issue for NATO, this is something that has to be addressed between Turkey and Greece.”
Stoltenberg’s visit to Ankara is expected to focus on a wide range of issues, including Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, the fight against terrorism and Syria.