Duvar English / Anadolu Agency
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on NATO members to show their alliance with Turkey at this “critical” time.
"NATO is in a critical process in which it needs to clearly show its alliance solidarity," Erdoğan told reporters during a press conference alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on March 9.
“We have first of all talked about Syria with [NATO] Secretary-General today. I have emphasized the importance of the urgency of additional support that we demand from NATO and our allies. Turkey's Syria border is also NATO's southeastern border. A crisis stemming from Syria threatens our region and as a matter of fact the whole Europe due to security and humanitarian concerns. No European country has the luxury of staying indifferent to clashes and humanitarian drama in Syria,” he said.
Erdoğan said that Turkey was looking for "concrete support from all our allies to this struggle" and that Turkey had been the only NATO country to fight Syria-based "threats," including ISIS, for over nine years and to have suffered troops killed.
Stoltenberg: Turkey ‘important’ ally
Stoltenberg called Turkey an “important” ally which has “contributed to our shared security in many ways.” “No other ally has suffered more terror attacks than Turkey. No other ally hosts more refugees than Turkey,” said Stoltenberg.
“Allies are prepared to continue to support Turkey and explore what more to do,” he said, reaffirming the bloc’s commitment to partnership.
Erdoğan was due to hold talks with EU leaders Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, who have backed Greece as Europe's "shield" against migrants encouraged to leave Turkey.
They have urged Erdoğan to halt refugee and migrant departures and negotiate a new deal under which EU members would do more to alleviate the humanitarian situation on the Syrian border.
Thousands of migrants have massed at Turkey's land border with EU-member Greece since Turkey announced last month that it would no longer prevent migrants from crossing.
Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, and Erdoğan has demanded that Europe shoulder more of the burden of caring for them.
He has accused the EU of not meeting its obligations, including failing to pay money promised to Turkey under a 2016 deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. The EU says it is disbursing the funds.