Embarrassed, NATO calls on Turkish ally to act "with restraint"

The member countries of the Atlantic Alliance are worried about the evolution of Turkey, which requires the solidarity of its partners.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on 11 October 2019 in Istanbul.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on 11 October 2019 in Istanbul. Akin Celiktas / AP

A concern, not a conviction: after declaring that the Atlantic Alliance was not, as such, concerned by the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria, NATO had to adapt its communication. In Rome, on Wednesday 9 October, in Istanbul, on Friday 11, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about "Legitimate security concerns" the powerful ally of the Atlantic Alliance, but again urged him to act "With restraint". Highlighting the risk of further destabilization of the region and endangering the fight against ISIS.

Unimpressed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu responded by calling on NATO to show "A stronger solidarity" with the new front opened by the Turkish army. "The operation is very important for the security of the territory of the Alliance," insisted the head of Turkish diplomacy. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured him that "Only the terrorists" were targeted.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Turkish offensive raises issue of foreign jihadists detained in Syria

Mr. Çavusoglu further justified his country's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, a recent decision that is causing a serious crisis within NATO and could trigger US sanctions if, as expected, the system became operational in 2020. In July, the United States has already blocked the delivery of around 100 F-35 fighter jets and they consider it impossible to deploy the S-400s, which would be accompanied by the presence in Turkey of Russian technicians able to capture strategic information. This issue, if it does not find a quick solution, will be one of the key themes of the NATO summit in December in London.

Necessary protection

Friday, MM. Çavusoglu and Stoltenberg were questioned that Spain is planning, in protest against the offensive in Syria, to remove Patriot missile batteries deployed in Turkey. To protect Turkish airspace from possible attacks by the Syrian regime, NATO allies had installed batteries in the south-east in 2013, near the Turkish-Syrian border. Spain has a Patriot contingent at Incirlik air base in the Adana region. Italy, which should imitate Spain as early as 15 November, has SAMP / T (the medium-range ground-to-air air defense system) in Kahramanmaras, not far from Gaziantep.


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