Turkey has legitimate security concerns and has the right to deal with it, said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg yesterday regarding Operation Olive Branch, referring to the terror attacks that the country has suffered over the years.
"None of the NATO member countries have been exposed to terror attacks as much as Turkey. Turkey has the right to deal with its security concerns. Yet, it should do it in a moderate way," Stoltenberg stated during a press conference ahead of the meetings of NATO defense ministers that will be held on Feb. 14-15.
Reminding that Turkey recently informed NATO on the operation during a press meeting in the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg expressed that he also is in regular contact with the Turkish leaders, most particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, regarding the conditions in Syria.
"We are expecting from Turkey to continue to inform its NATO allies," the secretary-general further indicated while adding that he is glad to see that there are meetings between Turkey and the U.S.
Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli will represent Turkey in the meetings of NATO defense ministers. Canikli is expected to meet with his U.S. counterpart James Mattis, Stoltenberg and some other ministers of NATO ally countries.
Speaking on the Turkey-Russia deal on S-400 missiles, Stoltenberg said that explaining the details of the agreement is a decision for Turkey to make. "However, we are glad to see that Turkey develops a joint air defense system with two other NATO allies Italy and France," he added.
The S-400 system, which was introduced in 2007, is the new generation of Russian missile systems, and so far Russia has only sold them to China and India.
Russia also signed a more than $2 billion deal with Turkey for the delivery of two S-400 defense systems.
ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AA