Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Ankara condemns Greece's decision to expel the Libyan ambassador over a deal Turkey and Libya reached on Nov. 27. "Expelling an ambassador just because of the [agreement] that we signed is not mature behavior in diplomacy. This is outrageous," Çavuşoğlu said on Dec. 6.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he asked his French, German and U.K. counterparts why they have eyes on the Syrian soil, when he was faced with the question of if Turkey has intention of leaving the region during their quadrilateral meeting on Dec. 3 in London. “There is an issue that they have been dwelling on: 'When are you [Turkey] going to leave here [Syria]? In return, we asked them 'What are you doing here?'" Erdoğan told a group of Turkish reporters on Dec. 5.
Those who have eyes on Syrian soil should leave the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, adding that Turkey will continue its operations in northern Syria "until the area is cleared of all terrorists." He also defended the offensive due to the country having a 911-kilometer-long border with Syria. "Today, there's a Turkey that seeks no one's permission when carrying out operations for its national security," Erdoğan said.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that a consensus couldn't be reached with Turkey on the definition of terrorism. "I don't see any possible consensus," Macron said after a NATO summit marred by the spat with Turkey over its demand that allies brand as "terrorists" the YPG of northeastern Syria that helped a U.S.-led coalition defeat ISIS.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Dec. 4 that Turkey dropped its block on a plan to bolster the defenses of Baltic states and Poland against Russia, adding that NATO leaders did not discuss the YPG issue. Upon a question regarding the S-400s, Stoltenberg said that the Russian system can never be integrated into NATO defenses.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he is confident about finding a solution to the rift between Ankara and the alliance over a defense plan for the Baltics and Poland, saying that he spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was working on a solution to the matter.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that the European Union is a part of Turkey and Turkey is a part of the EU during a meeting with the ambassadors of 27 countries from the bloc. "I would like to remind you that Turkey is the most significant center in the EU's east. I believe that good steps and beginnings in Istanbul would spread to Turkey in a short period of time," he said, adding that such a move would have a positive effect on the Middle East.
Turkey on Dec. 3 repatriated five foreign national militants to Germany, the Interior Ministry said. The ministry did not specify which group the fighters belonged to, but in recent months the ministry has been stressing the return of ISIS militants.
All attacks against Syrian civilians, including in the rebel-held area of Idlib, must end, the leaders of Turkey, Britain, France, Germany agreed on Dec. 3 ahead of a NATO summit in London. "The leaders said they would work to create the conditions for the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of refugees and that the fight must be continued against terrorism in all its forms," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said in a statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron has accused Turkey of working with ISIS proxies, as the recent war of words between the two NATO allies continues. ""When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against ISIS and sometimes they work with ISIS proxies," Macron said during a press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in London.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said that Turkey is a good member of NATO or "will be." "I like Turkey and I get along well with the president - he is a very good member of NATO or will be," Trump said in a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the alliance's summit in London on Dec. 3. When asked if Turkey should be a member after its Syria offensive, Trump said that it should be discussed among allies.
Turkey and the United States have engaged in a new row over a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland. While the rift between Turkey and its allies regarding Ankara's military offensive in northeastern Syria has been ongoing for a while, Ankara's refusal to back the NATO plan added to the tensions between the country and the alliance ahead of the NATO summit in London.
US Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen have urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system. "The time for patience has long expired. It is time you applied the law," Graham and Hollen said in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Rasmussen, a former NATO secretary general, has warned that the NATO leaders' meeting is set to be a "very risky" one as it has the potential to be “derailed by a triple threat” from the presidents of Turkey, France and the United States. “Militarily NATO is stronger than at any time since the Cold War, but politically NATO is weaker,” Rasmussen told The Times in an interview.
A Turkish official has said that the purchase date for S-400 missile defense systems is just a technicality, the RIA news agency reported. "The date of the purchase of a second set of S-400s is just a technical question. I think it will happen before too long," RIA cited a security and foreign affairs official in the Turkish presidential administration as saying.