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NATO summit: Erdoğan gets warm welcome in United States

As he arrived in the US for the NATO summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was met with enthusiastic cheers and displays of national pride. Waving Turkish flags and holding up banners that read "President Erdogan Welcome!", the crowd warmly greeted him with chants of "Türkiye is proud of you."

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published July 09,2024

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan got a rapturous welcome Tuesday as he arrived in the US to attend a NATO summit.

Local Turks waited for Erdoğan near his hotel, with tight security measures in evidence.

People greeted him waving Turkish flags and holding banners with the words "President Erdoğan Welcome!" and chanting slogans such as "Türkiye is proud of you."

Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş spoke briefly with the assembled well-wishers.

Erdoğan arrived in Washington on Tuesday to attend a three-day NATO leaders' summit of 32 NATO allies set to make key decisions on how to protect their 1 billion citizens as the world faces perhaps the most dangerous security environment since the Cold War. They will also mark the alliance's 75th anniversary.

The leaders will exchange views on alliance efforts for deterrence and defense in the face of challenges and risks to the alliance's geography, as well as the situation in Ukraine and aid to that country.

Terrorism, one of the main threats to the alliance, will also be discussed.

In addition to leaders of NATO member states such as Türkiye, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, EU representatives, and leaders of NATO's partners in the Asia-Pacific region-including Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand-will also attend relevant sessions.

- Türkiye's expectations

Erdoğan later Tuesday will attend NATO's 75th anniversary celebrations at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.

On Wednesday, after a welcoming ceremony by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Joe Biden, the NATO leaders will pose for a family photo.

Erdoğan will attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the heads of state and government level, where Stoltenberg and Biden will deliver opening remarks.

Before leaving for the US, Erdoğan said Tuesday that Türkiye's expectations for the summit are to obtain results that pay heed to allies' sensitivities about national security and strengthen the alliance's spirit of unity and solidarity.

"During our talks, we will draw attention to the growing threat of terror in the world, first and foremost in nearby areas. We will underscore the importance of stepping up NATO's efforts to put up a determined and holistic fight against terrorist groups," he told reporters.

Stressing that Türkiye is one of the top five allies in contributions to NATO's missions and operations, Erdoğan said his country is doing more than its share.

Erdoğan will also hold bilateral meetings with participating heads of state and government on the margins of the summit, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who was appointed to lead NATO beginning Oct. 1.

The president said he would bring up the "ongoing massacres" against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

"We will stress that the international community has remained incapable of stopping Israel in the face of this grave picture, and that it is impossible for the global conscience to heave a sigh of relief unless a just and lasting peace is established in Palestine.

"While voicing these matters at the highest level, I will raise all our assessments concerning all of them during the bilateral talks I will hold with allied heads of state and government as well," he added.

Since it was founded on April 4, 1949, in Washington, with 12 founding members, the alliance has expanded to 32 members.

Türkiye -- a NATO member for over 70 years -- joined the alliance in 1952.