Ankara expects concrete steps from NATO on national security issues: Erdoğan
Turkey wants to see concrete steps from NATO on the issues concerning Turkey’s national security, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 23, stressing that Ankara could not achieve the support it needed, although it has paid the price for the alliance.
“At a time when the alliance solidarity must be kept at the highest level, the policy of making up excuses must be abandoned and Turkey’s rightful expectations, especially regarding sanctions and support in the fight against terror, must be met,” Erdogan said, speaking at a ceremony held for the docking of Hızırreis submarine and the first welding of Selmanreis submarine in Gölcük.
As a country “paying a price” for NATO, Ankara wants to see concrete steps rather than open-ended diplomatic statements on the issues concerning the country’s national security, he said. “We believe an enlargement policy that disregards the fundamental security sensitivities will benefit neither us nor NATO.”
Despite the vital role Ankara plays in NATO and other international organizations is clear, Erdoğan said they are still having to talk about lifting sanctions by some of the allies. “We can’t put aside the current sanctions against us by Sweden,” he added.
“Neither in the fulfillment of its security needs nor in its legitimate cross-border operations or in its 40-year-long fight against terror has Turkey received the support it has expected from its allies,” the president emphasized.
“Let alone any support or contribution, our country has most of the time been exposed to overt or covert sanctions, embargoes, threats, pressures and blackmails. During this process, double standards have been incidents which we have learned about well, experienced frequently, felt to the bone, and which we have told to our counterparts’ faces at every opportunity,” Erdoğan stated.
Despite the critical incidents taking place in the region, Erdoğan said they see that the same stance is being persistently maintained particularly on the issues of security and defense.
Underscoring that the “double standards” it has faced made Turkey gain opportunities, Erdoğan said the country’s defense industry reached a domestic and national production rate of over 70 percent. The foreign dependency in the defense industry was 80 percent when his government took office, he stated.
Turkey is currently carrying out more than 750 defense industry projects, half of which his government launched in the past five years, Erdoğan stated.
“We have realized many projects that will render our navy stronger and more deterrent for the security of the Blue Homeland,” he said.
Ankara is objecting to the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden over security concerns, accusing them of supporting terror groups. Ankara also says these countries impose defense industry export bans on Turkey.