Defense minister says Turkey fulfills its obligations within NATO
"We stand behind our obligation both with our financial contributions and the efforts of our hero soldiers," Hulusi Akar said.
Akar also said the efforts of some circles trying to show Turkey’s steps for its security as a proof of disregarding NATO alliance are "unreasonable".
He said Turkey, as a member country, continues to fulfill its obligations within NATO in "the most meaningful and efficient" way.
As a NATO-member-country for nearly 70 years, Turkey sets priorities by acting with allies to eliminate the terrorism threat, he added.
Akar also reminded that Turkey has the second-largest army in NATO, adding: "From the Korean War to the Balkans, from Somalia to Afghanistan, our soldiers took part in NATO missions, operations and exercises all over the world and played a key role in humanitarian missions."
He said Turkey was in the front line of the alliance for decades during the Cold War, noting that today his country is "the last wall" between the Europe and the terrorist organizations on Turkish borders.
"With the Operation Peace Spring, the establishment of a terror corridor on our borders was precisely prevented."
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone.
Prior to this, Turkey led two successful operations, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, to rid the region of terrorists.
The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.
Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.