Turkey’s National Security Council on Thursday called on its NATO allies to support the fight against terrorism, including the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
In a statement released after the three-hour session, which convened in the capital Ankara under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the council said Turkey "has fully and sincerely" fulfilled its obligations in the alliance and that it expects the same from other members.
Underscoring Ankara's determination to keep fighting FETÖ until it is completely eliminated, the statement said Turkey is ready to fight in all manners of danger to its "national unity and survival," including the PKK terrorist organization and its offshoots, as well as FETÖ, both at home and abroad.
The issue of the joint fight against terrorist organizations with NATO allies came up last month during the alliance’s leaders summit in Madrid.
Turkey, Sweden and Finland pledged to tackle terrorism after Ankara had previously voiced objections to these countries joining NATO due to their support for terrorist organizations.
Spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, the two countries applied to join NATO in May, shedding their traditional neutrality.
A trilateral agreement signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG, the PKK's Syrian offshoot, nor to FETÖ, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, and said Ankara extends full support to Finland and Sweden against threats to their national security.
Discussing further security challenges, the security council also touched upon ongoing tensions with neighbor Greece.
"Greece's continued territorial waters, airspace violations and other provocative actions are unacceptable," it stressed.
"The Greek administration has also been called upon to once again put an end to activities that endanger lives of irregular migrants and violate human rights and humanitarian law," the statement noted.
Just a day ago, the Turkish defense ministry shared video footage showing the Turkish coast guard rescuing irregular migrants that were pushed back by Greek elements in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, stating it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
In recent years, hundreds of thousands have made short but perilous journeys across the Aegean to reach northern and western Europe in search of a better life.
Hundreds of people have died at sea as many boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.
Turkey and Greece are key transit points for migrants looking to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks, summary deportations and denying migrants access to asylum procedures, violating international law. Ankara also accuses the EU of turning a blind eye to this blatant abuse of human rights.
Another issue that is causing rifts between Athens and Ankara is the unresolved problem of the divided island of Cyprus.
The council expressed "strong support" for the vision of a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) "for a two-state solution on the basis of sovereign equality and equal international status."
A day before the MGK meeting, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades reiterated that he sees the proposal of a two-state solution as “unacceptable.”
Anastasiades’ rejection of the proposals was the clearest indication yet of how far apart the two sides remain on finding any common ground to renew the U.N.-facilitated talks.
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
The island has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.'s Annan Plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Pointing to Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine, Ankara called for "a comprehensive cease-fire to be declared" before the war "leads to more casualties and destruction."
Turkey reiterated its efforts "to resolve the issue that is turning into a global food crisis with the establishment of a lasting will."
"The expanding political and social effects of the global economic crisis, which was deepened by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent conflicts throughout the world, were evaluated in all dimensions, and the measures to be taken to strengthen our country in all areas against possible threats that may arise in the future were reviewed," the council added.
Nearly 5,100 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, according to U.N. figures. Over 15 million people have also been forced to flee their homes, including more than 9.5 million that have fled to other countries.
Turkey is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. With its unique position of friendly relations with Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has won widespread praise for its push to end the war.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from crossing through them.
In a breakthrough, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for peace talks in Istanbul on March 29 as the war entered its second month, with casualties piling up on both sides.
Turkey also hosted the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Antalya in March and a recent meeting in Istanbul to discuss the export of Ukrainian grain. Ankara also hopes to bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.