NATO unity critical against terrorism: Turkish defense minister
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
At the virtual meeting, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar cautioned that license restrictions, sanctioning attempts, and threats against Turkey would weaken the alliance.
Akar said in a statement that the meeting's participants discussed issues on defense and deterrence, NATO's activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and global developments.
During the meeting, Turkey's fellow alliance members, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, expressed their condolences for the recent killing of 13 Turkish nationals by the PKK terror group in northern Iraq, he added.
The defense chief also underlined that Ankara would resolutely continue fighting the many terror groups that it faces, including Daesh/ISIS, the PKK/YPG, and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
He noted they had briefed the other participants of the meeting on Turkey's Operation Claw-Eagle 2 against the PKK in the Gara region, which he said revealed the extent of the PKK threat in northern Iraq.
"We clearly stated that the PKK and YPG are the same terrorist organization. In addition, while the efforts to expand NATO's mission in Iraq are continuing, we also stated that the PKK terror group is the biggest obstacle to NATO's mission."
Akar also said that developments in Afghanistan and the alliance's options had also been evaluated during the meeting, underlining that Turkey has thus far fulfilled its responsibilities in the war-torn country's peace process and will continue to do so.
He said that as Turkey celebrates the 69th anniversary in NATO, it would continue to play an active role in the alliance and fulfill its commitments within it.
"In conclusion, we can say that this two-day meeting, in which we expressed our views, suggestions, and expectations on defense and security issues, was held in a constructive and positive atmosphere," Akar said.
'PKK terrorists in panic, have nowhere to escape'
The PKK terrorists are cornered and its so-called administrators are in panic following Turkey’s latest anti-terror offensive in northern Iraq, Akar also said on Feb. 19.
“It is among the intelligence we got that with the operation [Claw-Eagle 2] there are serious panic and deep concern among the so-called administrators of the PKK terror group, and the group’s movement capability has been largely limited,” Akar told a flag ceremony of the Commodore of the 2nd Corvette Flotilla in the western Izmir province.
Akar said the four-day operation in the Gara region was launched after detecting the terror group’s shelters, positions, hideouts, and ammunition depots and that the terrorists were plotting an attack, as well as with an aim to confirm the obtained intelligence.
The operation was carried out by respecting Iraq’s territorial integrity and in coordination with allied countries, Akar noted.
He said the Turkish army instilled a heavy blow to the terrorists by entering their safe haven in the region.
“The so-called administrators of the terror group understood very well that the PKK terror group is left with nowhere to escape. Their caves in these places collapsed on their heads,” he said.
Stressing that the terrorists will not be able to feel safe anywhere from now on, Akar added that the operation was carried out with due care to avoid harming civilians and properties.