'Turkey-Russia relations will not affect NATO ties'

Turkish defense minister says NATO should fulfill its commitments to Turkey

'Turkey-Russia relations will not affect NATO ties'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey’s relations with Russia do not mean a weakening of Ankara’s NATO links, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Thursday.

Speaking at a conference of Turkish ambassadors in the capital Ankara, Isik said Turkey’s relations with NATO would continue with “determination”.

Ankara and Moscow are experiencing improved relations after Turkey and Russia brokered a nationwide peace deal in Syria.

According to Isik, Ankara has the right to criticize NATO when it does not honor a commitment to one of its member states.

When NATO fails to support Turkey’s fight against ISIL in Syria, despite its forces in the region, “we can criticize and demand it honor those commitments”, Isik said.

Turkey is an important member of NATO and the second largest military power in the alliance, he noted.

“Turkey is abiding by all its commitments to NATO… The recent development of our relations with Russia doesn’t mean Turkey’s ties with NATO would be weakened,” he said, criticizing some Western media outlets’ allegations.

Isik said some reporters had carried out a “perception operation” against Turkey when they should support the country, an important Western ally in the region.

“We will continue our relations with NATO with solidarity and determination,” he said.

Isik also said extremism had become a global problem.

“Some extremist groups aimed to establish a sovereign state while some states attempt to increase their power by using these extremist organizations,” he said.

Isik said there were no differences between extremist groups like ISIL and the PKK/PYD.

“All extrem groups are creating threats for humanity and Turkey is determined to fight against them,” he added.

He hoped the incoming U.S. administration under President-elect Donald Trump would "correct the mistake" of allying America with the PKK/PYD in Syria.

The PYD is an extension of the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey and is considered a extremist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.

According to Turkey, the PYD and its armed wing -- the YPG -- are extremist organizations too as they are affiliates of the PKK.

However, the U.S. considers the YPG/PYD a "reliable partner" on the ground in Syria and continues to support them in the field.

Isik said Turkey’s allies should not attempt to legitimize extrem groups.

The defense minister also touched upon the Fetullah extremist Organization (FETO), a network accused of orchestrating a deadly military coup attempt in Turkey last year.

He said that fighting against FETO -- not only in Turkey but all around the world -- would continue.

“We see this [fight] as a struggle for the survival of the state,” he added.

FETO, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, is accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup plot in Turkey as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

The 15 July 2016 defeated coup left at least 248 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ocak 2017, 14:22