NATO to always support Turkey - Secretary General
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
NATO will always support Turkey, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Turkish TV channel TRT Haber reported Oct.9.
This is Stoltenberg's first visit to Turkey since he took office on Oct. 1.
He said that NATO highly appreciates the decision of the Turkish Parliament, according to which the country's armed forces may participate in military operations in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey is one of the most important members of the North Atlantic alliance, he said.
Prior to the visit, the new NATO secretary-general was set to discuss security concerns posed to Turkey by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Oct. 8 that it is planned that Stoltenberg will discuss instability in the Middle East, current situation in Ukraine, as well as other principal issues on NATO's agenda in light of the Wales Summit decisions during his visit to Turkey.
Stoltenberg was also scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during the visit. The secretary-general will also visit the U.S. Patriot units deployed to Gaziantep on Oct. 10.
Stoltenberg's visit comes at a critical moment as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) intensifies its campaign to seize the control of the Kurdish-populated town of Kobani right across from the Turkish border. NATO has already pledged to activate the alliance's principle of collective defense as outlined in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty in the case of an attack directed against Turkey.
In early October the Kurds-populated Syrian town of Kobani, was taken under control by the IS. The move triggered mass protests among the Kurds in six provinces of Turkey. Some 22 people were killed during the protests. Following the protests, a curfew was declared in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Mus, Van, Batman.
On Oct. 2, 2014, the Turkish parliament adopted a mandate that gave permission for the country's armed forces to participate in the military operations abroad, as 298 deputies voted for this decision, and 98 deputies voted against it.