Turkey doing its best to protect NATO borders: Akar
As the second largest army of NATO, Turkey is doing its best to protect the borders of the bloc against terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling, the Turkish defense minister has said, underlining that Turkey sees NATO as the center of its security.
“Turkey is doing whatever is necessary for the protection of the borders of NATO and Europe against terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling. As the second largest army of NATO, it puts NATO at the center of its security and at the same time locates itself at the center of NATO’s security by sharing all the burden of the alliance,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said during the On Guard-2021 exercise conducted by the 3rd Army based in Istanbul on Nov. 19.
He was accompanied with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and other force commanders.
Turkey has been a NATO member for 70 years and has always fulfilled its duties under the alliance roof, Akar said, recalling that it is fighting against ISIL, al-Qaeda, PKK/YPG and FETO at the same time. Despite all these pre-occupations, Turkey continues to contribute to NATO by participating in various military exercises and events, Akar stated.
The world is passing through a period full of global and regional risks and threats, the minister said, underlining that this environment increases the importance of international defense and security organizations.
“NATO has been the foundation of Europe’s security since World War II. As the most successful alliance in history, we believe that NATO is as vibrant and active as it has always been,” he said.
Turkey has successfully completed its command role at NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), the defense minister said, informing that it will take charge of NATO’s navy forces in 2023 and 2028 thanks to the Turkish High Readiness Maritime Task Force that will be fully activated in early 2022.
Turkey is hosting a number of key NATO bodies on its territories such as Maritime Security Excellence Center, Center of Excellence Defense Against Terrorism, and Peace for Partnership Training Center among many others, he said, adding all these were showing Turkey’s contribution to the alliance’s defense and deterrence capabilities.