NATO chief calls Turkish PM Davutoğlu as refugee swap begins in Aegean
REUTERS photoNATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu hours before Greece began returning migrants from Lesbos to Turkey under a landmark European Union deal to stop the uncontrollable influx of refugees into Europe.
The telephone conversation late on April 3 took place upon Stoltenberg’s initiative, anonymous sources told the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Stoltenberg’s initiative also came hours before his scheduled meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on April 4. Last week, on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a bilateral meeting with Obama.
NATO ships have been patrolling the Aegean Sea, conducting reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities as directed, while the alliance has been sharing information with Turkish and Greek authorities and the European Union’s border agency, FRONTEX, to assist in the international efforts to counter human trafficking and criminal networks in the region.
Davutoğlu and Stoltenberg made “a comprehensive exchange of views on illegal migration in the Aegean Sea, the fight against terror, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the latest developments in Afghanistan,” the same sources told Anadolu.
Extending condolences for Turkish citizens who lost their lives in recent terrorist attacks, Stoltenberg also voiced the alliance’s strong support for Turkey’s active efforts in the fight against terror, the sources said.