NATO chief says Turkey has right to self-defense amid Afrin operation
Turkey has the right to self-defense like all other countries, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said, as Turkey continues targeting People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in northern Syria.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid on Jan. 25, Stoltenberg said: “Turkey suffered most from terrorist attacks over many years.”
“And Turkey, as all countries, has the right to self-defense,” he said.
Stoltenberg stressed that this needed to be done “in a proportionate and measured way.”
“That is the message I convey every time I discuss this issue with different NATO leaders including the political leadership in Turkey,” he added.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched “Operation Olive Branch” to remove YPG militants from the district of Afrin.
Stoltenberg recalled his phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week and urged for “direct contacts” between Turkey and the United States to find the best way to address the challenges in northern Syria.