The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which French President Emmanuel Macron said experienced “brain death” recently, is at the center of debate again.
The reason for Macron's pessimism was that the U.S., the pact's major partner, decided to withdraw from Syria without asking Brussels. In contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump accuses other European countries, including France, of not allocating enough of their budgets to NATO's defense spending. At times, he has even threatened the EU with leaving NATO.
The final reason for discussions in NATO ahead of next week's summit in London is the alliance's defense plans for the Baltic states and Poland.
The plan, first raised after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, is almost impossible to implement without Turkey's cooperation and approval. This is because the presence of Turkey, which is on the most critical border of the NATO umbrella, adjacent to Russia and the Middle East, is vital.
Turkey is asking NATO to clarify its stance on the People's Protection Units (YPG)-Democratic Union Party (YPG-PYD), the PKK's Syrian branch, Reuters has reported. And the country refuses to support joint defense plans in Eastern Europe or any other region unless this is ensured.
At this point, I think no member has the right to reproach Ankara, since the request of Turkey, which has done every bit of its part since 1952 with the alliance's second-largest army, is absolutely legitimate.
Turkey is holding 4 million Syrians and other refugees, including more than 300,000 Kurds, like a dam on NATO's southern border. It bears the economic, social and political burden of millions of people who are eager to reach the West and Europe. Turkey is doing this almost without any support from global organizations, including the United Nations.
Despite all the sacrifices Turkey has made, its sole request from NATO is to abide by international law, treaties and practices.
The PKK, which has been renamed the YPG in Syria, is already recognized as a terrorist organization by many European countries and the U.S. The PKK-YPG, disguised in every country through different letter combinations, does not represent Kurds or any other ethnic group in the region. There are even hundreds of cases filed against necktie-wearing rulers of these terrorist groups, who have been recognized by the governments in the EU. For instance, Ferhat Abdi Şahin, called “General Mazloum” even by the U.S. President, is no more than a terrorist wanted by Interpol under a red notice.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will undoubtedly announce all these facts to the world once again at NATO's 70th-anniversary summit next week.
I hope that NATO's European bosses understand that they, not Turkey, have no alternative, without wasting any more time and without paying any price.