NATO ops not affected by dismissals in Turkish army
Cansu Çamlıbel - ANKARAOperations to cleanse the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) of followers of the U.S.-based Islamic scholar of Fethullah Gülen have not had an effect on NATO, the alliance’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Tacan İldem has stressed to daily Hürriyet.
“It is perfectly natural for officials and people in the country to expect the perpetrators who participated in the coup attempt to be brought to justice,” İldem told daily Hürriyet, adding that NATO accepts this “with respect.”
“The evaluations made up to now show that [operations against Gülenists] have not had an effect on NATO’s ongoing operations,” he added, emphasizing that the TSK has “prestige” in NATO.
Tens of thousands of suspensions, detentions and arrests have been carried out in Turkey after the failed July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Reshuffles, suspensions and arrests have also been carried out in the TSK through two Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meetings since the failed seizure of government.
Saying that coup attempts have been carried out in a number of NATO member countries in the past, İldem also stressed that allies should understand the “trauma” caused.
“It’s hard to tell what the other countries that experienced coup attempts have gone through. But it should be accepted that it caused a trauma in the TSK. Still, the TSK is an extremely powerful force, which contributes greatly to NATO,” he added.
Commenting on NATO’s Article 5, which binds members to defend other members if attacked, İldem suggested that an attack from Syria on Turkey could be counted as an attack against NATO.
“When we look at the issue from the viewpoint of the alliance’s obligations, we see that mutual defense is at the heart of the Washington Treaty, which is the founding document of NATO,” he said.