Visiting Turkey on Thursday (21 April) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and Minister of Defence İsmet Yılmaz.
Speaking alongside Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the Secretary General commended Turkey for its strong commitment to the Alliance, addressed common security challenges and highlighted that NATO stands united in the fight against terrorism.
The NATO Secretary General thanked Turkey for playing a crucial role in tackling human trafficking in the Aegean Sea. Referring to the NATO deployment, the Secretary General said that NATO ships have been collecting information and conducting monitoring in support of the efforts of Turkey, Greece and the European border agency Frontex.
“I appreciate the very good cooperation between NATO’s Standing Maritime Group and the Turkish coastguard and navy”, he said. “Based on the information NATO provides, Turkey is taking action to help break the business model of the human traffickers”, he added. Mr. Stoltenberg also welcomed the steps Turkey is taking to implement the agreement with the EU.
The Secretary General thanked Turkey for the important contribution to the Global Coalition to counter ISIL, including by providing critical infrastructure at the Incirlik airbase. “We stand united in the fight against terrorism. There can be no justification for the horrific attacks we have seen here in Ankara, in Istanbul, and elsewhere in Turkey", Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted. The Secretary General added that “NATO continues to augment Turkish air defences through AWACS overflights and the Patriot deployment”.
He underlined that NATO has just started training Iraqi officers in Jordan and welcomed Turkey’s offer to host such trainings in the future. He also commended Turkey for the valuable role as one of the framework nations in NATO’s mission to train, advise and assist Afghan soldiers and police.
Mentioning the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July, the Secretary General said that the Alliance must step up support to regional partners to build up their forces and “project stability”. “We are grateful for Turkey’s long-standing contribution to our Alliance in so many ways”, he said.
On Thursday the NATO Secretary General is visiting NATO flag ship FGS Bonn in the Aegean Sea.