US appreciates Turkey’s mediation in Ukraine crisis
SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ- ANKARA
The United States has appreciated Turkey’s efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s military operation, the American envoy has said, citing Turkey as a critical ally with the second-largest army and second-largest F-16 fleet.
“I just want to pay tribute to the Turkish government for their dogged efforts to try to find a diplomatic solution. It is a tough job, and they have continued and continue now to push for a diplomatic solution,” Ambassador Jeff Flake said at a special event he and his wife, Cheryl Flake, hosted to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Turkey’s joining in NATO.
Ambassadors and defense attachés of the NATO countries, as well as senior officials from the Turkish army and the Foreign Ministry, attended the event. Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar was also present.
“We are especially grateful to be here to celebrate 70 years of Turkey’s indispensable membership in the NATO alliance,” Flake told guests. “It is indeed fitting that we celebrate it here together because the very essence of the NATO alliance is unity, and our shared history of promoting democratic values, building trust and preventing conflicts have defined the Alliance for 70 years now.”
The events in the last few weeks reminded the importance of NATO, he said, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He, then, appreciated the role Turkey is playing in finding a diplomatic solution to the problem.
Turkey has NATO’s second-largest F-16 fleet
Recalling that Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, the ambassador said, “For 70 years now, Turkey has stood together with us and all members of NATO and has enriched the tangible and intangible aspects of the alliance and has deployed forces in support of NATO missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.”
Turkey’s contribution to global security started even before it joined NATO by sending troops to Korea, Flake recalled. “The U.N. Forces commander-in-chief, Douglas McArthur said at the time: In these concerned days, the heroism shown by the Turks has given hope to the American nation, it has inculcated them with courage.”
On Turkey’s role today, Flake noted: “Turkey today resolutely defends the southeastern flank of the NATO. It is a critical contributor in all NATO missions, with second-largest army, second largest F-16 fleet.”
Ukrainian envoy applauded
While mentioning the ongoing war and resistance of the Ukrainian people against the Russian offense, Flake invited Bodnar to the stage and asked the guests to give him a big hand. Invitees applauded him loudly.