NATO active, agile, adapting: NATO chief
ANKARA: NATO is active, agile and adapting to new circumstances, the NATO secretary general said Wednesday ahead of a leaders’ summit in London celebrating the alliance’s 70th anniversary. “NATO is the most successful alliance in history because we have been able to change again and again, when the world is changing,” said Jens Stoltenberg in a doorstep statement while heading to today’s meetings.
On Turkey’s opposition to increased NATO deployments in the Baltics, Stoltenberg said: “I’m confident that we will be able to also find a solution to the issue related to the updating the revised defense plans.” “We have plans in place to protect all NATO allies, including, of course, the Baltic countries and Poland. And more than that, we have not only plans but also forces. And for the first time in our history, we have combat troops deployed to the Baltic region,” he added.
Stoltenberg also said he spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was working on a solution to the matter. Reluctant to back NATO defense plans for Poland and the Baltics ahead of the summit, Turkey has taken issue with the alliance’s failure to recognize the threat it faces in northern Syria from the YPG/PKK terror group along its southern border. “NATO must act in a way that will meet the concerns of all allies. What is wanted for the Baltics should be wanted for us too,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot. (AA)