General

NTO chief admits ‘serious concerns’ over Turkey

NATO Secretary General Jens
Stoltenberg said Monday he has “serious concerns” over actions by member
state Turkey, but insisted the alliance was an important platform for
resolving disputes involving Ankara.

“I have expressed my serious concerns and we all know there are serious
differences and some issues, ranging from the eastern Mediterranean, the
Turkish decision to buy the Russian air defence system S-400 or related to
democratic rights in Turkey,” Stoltenberg told lawmakers from the European
Parliament.

“But I believe NATO at least can provide an important platform for
discussing these issues, raising these issues and having serious debates and
discussions about different concerns.”

Turkey has drawn the ire of some of its allies in the 30-nation grouping
over its stance in a maritime territorial dispute with fellow NATO member
Greece and its role in the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

In December, Washington slapped sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement
agency over Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defence system from
NATO rival Russia. New US President Joe Biden has maintained a tough line
over the purchase of Russian arms as his administration continues to figure
out its approach to Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

NATO foreign ministers will gather next week in Brussels for the US-backed
alliance’s first face-to-face meeting involving Biden’s team.

NATO has long tried to smooth over internal disputes with Turkey —
pointing to the role Ankara has played in housing millions of refugees from
Syria and in fighting the Islamic State group.

The alliance last year set up a “de-confliction mechanism” to try to avoid
clashes between Turkey and Greece as tensions spiked over the eastern
Mediterranean and the standoff has since calmed.

Ankara itself has been on a broader diplomatic mission in recent months as
it looks to improve ties with the European Union and regional rivals such as
Egypt amid uncertainty over Biden’s approach.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)