Turkey’s relationship with NATO tested over Syria operation

Days after Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Ankara against destabilising the region.

After meetings on Friday with Turkish officials in Istanbul, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Stoltenberg stopped short of condemning Ankara’s move, but said that the global efforts to put a stranglehold on ISIL could be “jeopardised” should the operation continue.

“Turkey is a great power in this great region, and with great power comes great responsibility,” he said.

In response, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said at a press conference alongside Stoltenberg: “Turkey has always been very sensitive about the civilians.”

He lashed out at some members of the international community, including fellow NATO allies, which have criticised “Operation Peace Spring”, saying: “They all know that the PKK and YPG are one and the same.

“On one hand you (the international community) are calling them terrorists and acknowledging our concerns and on the other hand you are not approving this operation. Turkey has tried its best to resolve this problem in the international community. And it had to do this because there was no resolution.”

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