In an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu on Sunday (Greece time), General Secretary of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg said that the tensed relations between the neighbouring countries are not of NATO’s concern.
Specifically, he stated that the leaders of Greece and Turkey need to address the issues that have been causing tension between the two countries themselves.
“Greece and Turkey are two highly valued NATO allies” and “both contribute to our collective defense”, he said adding that the recent tension is “not an issue for NATO”.
“I expect that the differences we see on some issues are solved between Turkey and Greece in the spirit of good relations,” Stoltenberg continued.
“In this context, I welcome that the PMs of both countries have recently held a phone conversation and that they have agreed to resolve these differences through dialogue.”
Stoltenberg also commented on the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, the fight against terrorism and Syria, emphasising the importance of Turkey as an ally.
“There’s a lot of NATO presence in Turkey but I call on the allies to provide even more support. We also provide political support, because Turkey is the NATO ally that has suffered the most from terrorist attacks,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, when asked about the crucial issues to be discussed in the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels set to take place in July, he said that the alliance “will address issues like how we continue to adapt NATO to a more demanding security environment,” he said.
Jens Stoltenberg is visiting Ankara today and as he told Anadolu, he sees “Turkey as a highly valued and key ally for many reasons, not just for its strategic location.”
“This makes it important to sit down with Turkish leaders and discuss the preparations for the important summit where we will address issues like how we continue to adapt NATO to a more demanding security environment.”
NATO leaders are also working on establishing a training mission in Iraq; one of the key issues to be discussed with President Erdogan, the defense minister, and the country’s foreign minister.
“We’re going to train Iraqi soldiers, help to build military academies and schools to help Iraqis stabilize their own country, fight terrorism and that is important for allies, including Turkey,” said Stoltenberg.