“Turkey is an important and highly valued NATO Ally”, Secretary General Stoltenberg said at a press conference alongside Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. “I welcome that Turkey is playing a key role in our training mission in Iraq”, the Secretary General said, citing Turkey’s strong contributions to NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo as further examples of Turkey’s active contributions to collective defence of the Alliance.
Bordering Syria and Iraq, Turkey has been the NATO Ally most exposed to violence and turmoil from the Middle East and the Secretary General offered his condolences to the Turkish government on the recent loss of several Turkish soldiers on its southern border. “NATO Allies stand with Turkey as it faces serious security challenges”, the Secretary General said, adding that NATO helps protect Turkey with air and missile defence systems and enhanced patrols by AWACS surveillance planes. “Over the years, NATO has invested more than 5 billion US dollars in military facilities in Turkey”, the Secretary General said. “This includes important infrastructure such as airfields, naval bases, and radar sites.”
The Secretary General spoke after chairing a meeting of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a partnership forum that brings together 29 Allied countries with seven countries from the Mediterranean region. While in Ankara, Mr Stoltenberg also held separate talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the security situation in the region and Turkey’s strong contributions to NATO.