30 April 2018 - Turkey ‘has right to fight against coup soldiers’
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said Turkey has the right to fight against the organizers of the 2016 coup attempt, adding that the country has a professional army with dedicated officers.
“The failed coup attempt was a brutal attack against democratic institutions in Turkey,” the secretary general said, recalling he had condemned the attempt and expressed solidarity with the Turkish government during that night.
It is known that some officers and some elements of the Turkish army participated to the coup attempt, as F-16s had bombed the parliament and some officers had kidnapped the Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Stoltenberg recalled.
“So, there were elements of the army that participated in the coup. But, at the same time, I know that despite the fact some elements participated in the coup attempt, Turkey has a professional army with professional soldiers and dedicated officers,” he said.
“I see them in NATO operations. I also see what Turkey is able to do when it comes to participating in NATO operations and missions,” said Stoltenberg.
On the question of who might be behind the coup attempt, Stoltenberg said it was not his place to discuss it because it is now a judicial matter.
“It is not up to the NATO secretary general to take responsibility for the investigation or any kind of judicial process. Turkey has the right to prosecute those who are behind the coup, based on the rule of law and the independent judiciary,” said the secretary general. Source
22 April 2018 - It’s time to drum increasingly authoritarian Turkey out of NATO
DAVID A. WELCH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED APRIL 22, 2018UPDATED 1 DAY AGO
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization – better known as NATO – was originally founded in 1949, as founding secretary-general Lord Ismay famously put it, “to keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Since then, it has grown from 12 to 29 members and is universally considered the most successful military alliance in history.
What makes NATO so successful is that it is much more than a military alliance. It is a club of like-minded states, as the preamble to the North Atlantic Treaty puts it, “determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.” These shared commitments have socialized its members profoundly over the years to identify with each other, cementing bonds of solidarity and reinforcing what are, historically speaking, unusually robust norms of peaceful dispute resolution.
Together with the European Union (EU), NATO must get credit for solving “the Franco-German problem,” eliminating war in most of Europe, and creating what political scientists call a “security community” – a region in which the threat or use of force has truly become unthinkable.
But there is an odd man out – Turkey.
While Turkey’s deepening authoritarianism alone should be enough to disqualify it from NATO, its recent behaviour is of at least equal concern. While perhaps not overtly complicit with the so-called Islamic State (IS) as some have charged, it passively enabled it by failing to seal off the flow of jihadists to, and oil from, IS-controlled territory. More recently, it has intervened militarily in Syria for the sole purpose of preventing the most effective anti-ISIS fighting force – the Kurdish YPG, armed and trained by the United States – from consolidating territory along its southern border. Far from contributing to a peaceful solution to the tragic situation in Syria, Ankara is inflaming it.
In 2017, Turkey also broke ranks by purchasing an advanced Russian surface-to-air missile system, the S‑400, over strong objections from fellow NATO countries. The deal not only benefits NATO’s chief strategic competitor but threatens to undermine the interoperability on which NATO’s military effectiveness depends.
It is possible, of course, that a future Turkish leader will right the ship and bring Turkey back to the fold. Mr. Erdogan himself is entirely to blame. Fifteen years of increasingly authoritarian rule have shown once again the wisdom of Lord Acton, who wrote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But apparently healthy, only 64, and through his own political machinations essentially president for life, Mr. Erdogan could be around for a long while yet.
There are two practical obstacles to pushing Turkey out of NATO. One is the North Atlantic Treaty itself, which provides for accession but not expulsion. All decisions of the NATO Council are by unanimous consent, so Turkey wields a veto. One would have to rely upon Erdogan’s sense of shame to induce him to withdraw.
The other is that Turkey holds a metaphorical gun to Europe’s head. In 2016, Turkey and the EU concluded an agreement by which Ankara agreed to take in “irregular migrants” trying to make their way from Syria to Europe in return for material and financial support for resettling them in Turkey and liberalized visa processing for Turkish nationals. With more than three million refugees in Turkey, Mr. Erdogan could conceivably, in a fit of pique, unleash a human torrent upon Europe that would make the 1980 Mariel Boatlift look like child’s play.
At the end of the day, Turkey’s fellow NATO members may not – probably will not – bite the bullet and try to maintain the integrity of the club. But they should at least make clear that Turkey is now a member only by forbearance, not by desert. Source
Erdoğan bashes NATO for not siding with Turkey in Syria
“We asked them to fight against terrorist organizations. But they [the US] preferred to be with them [terrorist organizations]. They sent 5,000 truckloads of weapons there [to Syrian Kurdish militant groups]. They sent 2,000 cargo ships of weapons and ammunition. Are we not are friends? Are we not together in NATO?” Erdoğan said during a party meeting in Sakarya province, strongly criticizing American support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“I repeat: Oh NATO! When are you going to side with us? Are we not members of NATO? You called on us for Afghanistan, we came. You called on us for Somalia, the Balkans, we came. Why? Because we are a NATO member. We fulfilled our promise, but you have not. This is Turkey. This is the Turkish nation,” he added.
In a speech in Bolu province on Sunday, Erdoğan said Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have so far taken control of 950 square kilometers (590 square miles) in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.
“In the Afrin region, the owners of the [liberated] lands have started to come back,” Erdoğan said, adding that a total of 3,300 Kurdish militants have been “neutralized” in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
The Turkish military and FSA fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016 and March 2017.
Erdoğan slams NATO for lack of support in Syria
“Hey NATO, where are you?” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a public rally in the southern province of Mersin, accusing the military alliance of “double standards.”
Erdoğan said NATO member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested but did not receive support in return.
Turkey launched a military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Jan. 20 to clear them from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
The country considers the YPG a terror organization, but its NATO ally, the United States, backs the fighters to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Erdoğan urged NATO to come to Turkey’s aid, saying its borders are “under threat right now.”
‘850 square km now under control in Afrin’
Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces have so far seized control of 850 square kilometers during the operation in Afrin, Erdoğan said.
“Up to now 850 square kilometers have been taken under our control. The target is to bring 2,000 square kilometers under our control,” he said.
“Our concern isn’t the land, our concern is clearing terrorists from there. Wherever there are terrorists, we’ll be there,” he added, referring to the YPG.
Erdoğan said Turkey will help Afrin to rebuild and repair, including its electricity, water, education, and healthcare systems, “just like it did in Jarablus, Al-rai, Azaz and Al-Bab,” after clearing these Syrian cities of ISIL militants during Turkey’s previous Euphrates Shield Operation.
The Euphrates Shield Operation began in August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, clearing towns on the Turkish border of both YPG and ISIL militants.
“Then we will also clear Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tal Abyad, Resulayn and Kamisli of terrorists,” Erdoğan said, naming other Syria cities near Turkey’s borders. Source
NATO leaves Turkey alone in fight against terrorism'