Let me briefly start this column. The recent NATO leaders' summit in London can be described as a diplomatic success. It came amid deep tensions within the Atlantic alliance but eventually reaffirmed the importance and durability of NATO.
The summit was also symbolic in the sense that 70 years after its foundation, NATO returned to its first home in London. In the beginning, however, the atmosphere was overshadowed by French President Emanuel Macron calling the alliance "brain dead."
His remark faced severe criticism from member states and Turkey's president in particular. Naturally, Macron's description provoked disappointment and hopelessness in the organization. However, in the end, the leaders and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg managed to handle the crisis and make a turn around from the atmosphere created by Macron.
The London summit declaration, in particular, is good proof of that. The declaration has recognized all terrorist groups in Syria, an obvious success for Turkey and a good harbinger for the rest of the region. Before the declaration, NATO ally Turkey had hesitations concerning the member states’ approach toward the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), and it underlined that the YPG is as dangerous and real as Daesh in terms of terrorism. It can be said that Turkey's attitude toward the YPG changed the wording in the summit declaration.
In return, Turkey agreed to approve the Baltics defense plan, about which it had previously voiced concerns. This means diplomacy appears to have succeeded in showing Turkey's power in NATO.
In addition, I would like to focus on another dimension, which I think was one of the most important outcomes of the London summit. Before and during the summit, Turkey was in the spotlight. Its decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense systems and its YPG policy drew a lot of tension and anger. The anti-Turkey circles even encouraged opening a discussion on kicking Turkey out of the alliance.
However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his delegation prepared a detailed booklet about Turkey's contribution and vital role in the Atlantic organization. The text detailed how Turkey being a NATO member is and will be of strategic importance. Therefore, it was made clear that Turkey is a strong member of the Western alliance but that does not hinder the country from building good relations with Russia at the same time.
As a matter of fact, the S-400s are still an issue waiting to be resolved, but Turkey made clear that it will keep them as independent equipment and does not aim to incorporate them into NATO systems. But, it is still hard to say the issue is resolved. On the other hand, Turkey also made clear that it is and will be one of NATO's strongest core member states.