Turkey says NATO must take a role in regional unrest
Turkey has again urged NATO to change its security concept and provide support to Turkey in its endeavors against problems emanating from the Middle East, warning that European allies will face bigger problems in the future if the alliance did not take an action now.
“If NATO does not hold its responsibility today, it should comprehend that much bigger problems await Europe,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said during his weekly parliamentary group meeting on July 12, echoing the warning issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the NATO Warsaw Summit last week.
Yıldırım emphasized NATO’s obligations to be more sensitive in the face of rising terror and regional unrest, adding it was Turkey’s right to expect more support from allied countries in its fight against terrorism.
“All countries and humanity must now see the magnitude of the tragedy,” Yıldırım said, as the number of refugees worldwide has increased to 60 million, a number higher than the populations of 160 countries.
“The security of Damascus is the security of Paris, of London and of Istanbul. The security of Aleppo is as important as Berlin and Washington. The security of Baghdad is equally important as the security of New York, Rome,” he stated.
In reference to the Chilcot Report, which revealed that Britain’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was a failure born of flawed intelligence, lack of foresight and “wholly inadequate” planning, Yıldırım accused the West of occupying Iraq and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair of confessing.
“Today, there would be no Daesh problem if humanity did not live the pain of the occupation of Iraq. Composed of looters, Daesh is a structure that was born out of an authority vacuum and has no religion or faith. It’s the very devil. Alright, let’s fight against Daesh, good. But from where did they obtain these very modern weapons? Did Daesh plant a weapons industry in the Iraqi deserts?” Yıldırım asked. Daesh is an Arabic acronym frequently used to refer to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Indirect criticism to the US, West
Yıldırım also pointed at the posture the West has been taking against ISIL with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, by saying “[The West claims] the PYD is not a terror organization. Why? Because it has been fighting against Daesh? Since when has a terror organization been providing assistance for the eradication of another terror organization?”
The prime minister’s remarks drew a link to a lingering disagreement between Turkey and the United States over the role of the PYD in the anti-ISIL fight in Syria. The U.S. and many other Western countries regard the PYD as a political party, despite Turkey’s insistence that it constitutes a terrorist organization affiliated with the PKK. The PKK is on the lists of terrorist organizations of the U.S. and the European Union.
Not much reason to fight with countries
In a separate statement late on July 11, Yıldırım said there were “not many reasons” to fight with any countries in Turkey’s region, including Syria and Egypt, vowing that Ankara would continue to try to improve relations with its neighbors.
“There are not many reasons for us to fight with Iraq, Syria, Egypt and countries in all regions. But there are many reasons to carry relations forward,” Yıldırım said at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “Politics Academy” in the capital Ankara.
Turkey recently moved to normalize strained ties with Russia and Israel, and Yıldırım stressed that Turkey “regards all countries as friends.”
“We will increase our friendships and decrease enmities. We will also increase our friendships within the country. We will refrain from meaningless and empty discourse. From now on, we will improve our friendships with all countries surrounding the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. We will keep our disagreements at a minimum,” he vowed.