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Turkish defense head: NATO unity critical against terrorism

License restrictions, sanctioning attempts, threats against Turkey weaken alliance, Akar tells allies

Anadolu Agency TÜRKIYE
Published February 18,2021

Turkey's defense chief on Thursday highlighted at a NATO meeting of defense ministers the importance of unity and solidarity among allies in the fight against terrorism.

At the virtual meeting, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar cautioned that license restrictions, sanctioning attempts and threats against Turkey would weaken the alliance.

Akar said in a statement that the meeting's participants discussed issues on defense and deterrence, NATO's activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and global developments.

During the meeting, Turkey's fellow alliance members, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, expressed their condolences for the recent killing of 13 Turkish nationals by the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, he added.

The defense chief also underlined that Ankara would resolutely continue fighting the many terror groups that it faces, including Daesh/ISIS, the PKK/YPG and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

He noted they had briefed the other participants of the meeting on Turkey's Operation Claw-Eagle 2 against the PKK in the Gara region, which he said revealed the extent of the PKK threat in northern Iraq.

"We clearly stated that the PKK and YPG are the same terrorist organization. In addition, while the efforts to expand NATO's mission in Iraq are continuing, we also stated that the PKK terror group is the biggest obstacle to NATO's mission."

Akar also said that developments in Afghanistan and the alliance's options had also been evaluated during the meeting, underlining that Turkey has thus far fulfilled its responsibilities in the war-torn country's peace process and will continue to do so.

He said that as Turkey celebrates the 69th anniversary in NATO, it would continue to play an active role in the alliance and fulfill its commitments within it.

"In conclusion, we can say that this two-day meeting, in which we expressed our views, suggestions and expectations on defense and security issues, was held in a constructive and positive atmosphere," Akar said.