NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised Turkey for sending medical aid to Spain and Italy, the countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus in Europe, saying that he is proud to see NATO allies supporting each other through the alliance's disaster relief center. "#NATO solidarity in action: Turkey sending a cargo plane with medical supplies to Italy & Spain today to support our joint fight against #COVID19," said Stoltenberg on Twitter on April 1.
The United States has asked Ankara to guarantee that it will not activate S-400 missile defense systems that it purchased from Russia to supply Patriot batteries, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 10. "They [the U.S.] softened significantly on this S-400 issue. They are now at the point of 'promise us you won't make the S-400s operational,'" he added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told a group of his supporters that they should not shake hands since he might have brought them coronavirus. One of his supporters, in return, said, "We accept everything that's coming from you."
Syria's war-battered Idlib region was quiet but tense on March 6 as a ceasefire deal between Moscow and Ankara took effect, with residents and opposition forces describing a lull in air raids that have pounded the last rebel-held enclave in Syria. Russia and Turkey made the agreement late on March 5, after six hours of talks in Moscow, to contain a conflict that has displaced nearly a million people in three months in northwest Syria.
Murat Yetkin writes: It is a cliché to say “a photo tells a thousand words” but it is true most of the time. Does this photo taken when the doors opened after talks between Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian host Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin tell anything positive and promising to you? Erdoğan will have to find a way to normalize relations with his European and American allies, considering that it can no longer rely on a permanent relationship with Russia.
Pentagon Chief Mark Esper has ruled out air support for Turkey in Syria's Idlib. He also confirmed that he has spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the situation in Syria and that NATO was prepared for anything that might happen. Asked what he told his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar during their recent phone call, Esper said the message was that "Russians aren't always good partners."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance provides support to Turkey and that the allies are looking for what further can be done. "The allies condemn the continued indiscriminate airstrikes by the Syrian regime and Russia in Idlib province," said Stoltenberg, calling on them "to stop their offensive to respect international law and to back UN-led efforts for a peaceful solution."
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that the attack on Turkish troops in Idlib were carried out despite coordination with Russia, adding that "even ambulances were hit in these airstrikes." Refuting Russia's claims, Akar said that there were no armed groups present around Turkish troops at the time of the attack.
NATO ambassadors are set to meet on Feb. 28 to hold consultations about developments in Syria under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty at Turkey's request, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in a Syrian air strike in the Idlib region. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by phone late on Feb. 27.
The five-person U.S. congressional delegation led by Kansas Senator Jerry Morgan visited the NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) headquarters in the Aegean city of Izmir and the head of the prestigious Turkish business association TÜSİAD. More important than asking why such a delegation made up of these names came to Turkey at this point in time would be the question of why they have bypassed the capital of Ankara while they were in the country.
While Ankara may not receive the solid backing from NATO that Turkey is seeking against Russia now, dialogue channels with NATO are stronger compared to other international institutions — for example, the European Union. Despite all the conflicts of interest and tensions that Turkey and European states, as well as Ankara and Washington, have endured, their links with NATO are still intact.
NATO has shared a video detailing Turkey's role in the alliance and how the country became a part of it. "Every NATO member has an equal voice. We take decisions together. United, we are stronger and safer. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability for our citizens and we actively support NATO partner countries," a Turkish jet pilot says in the video.
Ankara and Moscow are discussing possible joint patrols as one way to reach a deal to halt fighting and stem an exodus of civilians in Syria's Idlib region, a Turkish official said on Feb. 20. The official said the talks with Russia had not been "completely without a result." The discussions had moved forward but reached no final decision, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Greek delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly walked out of the session in Brussels on Feb. 19 after its criticism of Turkey was repeatedly interrupted by the body’s acting president. "The acting president systemically interrupted our speeches and questions and stopped us from presenting our views… We concluded the presentation and the delegation left in protest against the president's stance", they said.
Turkey will send additional troops to Syria's Idlib in order for the establishment of a ceasefire, the country's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. "Those who don't comply with the ceasefire, including the radicals, will be hit and all precautions will be taken," he said. "Our observation posts that we have reinforced will continue to play an important role on monitoring the situation on the field," he added.