NATO does not want to lose Turkey

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will make a official visit to Turkey on Monday, April 16, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, Stoltenberg will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli during his visit.

In the meeting, Stoltenberg and the Turkish officials are expected to discuss Turkey-NATO relations, Operation Olive Branch in Syria, counterterror efforts, preparations for the 2018 Brussels Summit set to be held on July 11-12 as well as regional developments.

Stoltenberg had previously acknowledged that Turkey was one of the NATO nations that suffered the most from terrorism, and had said it had a right to act in self-defense, referring to Turkey’s operation against the PKK Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Afrin.

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, U.N. Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said.


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