Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended a crucial summit of NATO leaders in Brussels on July 11-12, where Ankara proposed to the alliance further contribution to upcoming missions and a new command structure, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Refuting claims that Turkey is dragging itself away from the alliance, NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy Tacan İldem told Hürriyet that Ankara is actually increasing its contributions to the bloc.
Ankara has proposed the alliance to allocate the Turkish army’s military headquarters in Istanbul for the new land command structure of NATO, he noted. The headquarters, which was already used as a NATO mission, will be offered with increased capacity, he said.
Turkey will likely send a deputy commander to NATO’s newly-launched training mission in Iraq, along with the contribution of further trainers, İldem told the Hürriyet Daily News.
As a third proposal, Turkey will assume the command of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2021, he said.
ERDOĞAN MEETS LEADERS ON SIDELINES OF NATO SUMMIT
Erdoğan on Thursday continued to hold talks with heads of state and government on the second and final day of the NATO summit in Brussels.
He held bilateral talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on the sidelines of the NATO summit in closed-door meetings.
Erdoğan also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron during a 75-minute meeting for discussions that came after months of strain between Ankara and Paris over the latter’s given support to Syrian Kurdish militants. National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın also attended the meeting.
The Turkish president had a brief encounter with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. He invited Bosnia’s Bakir İzetbegovic and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev to the office of Turkey’s permanent NATO representation for a trilateral meeting.
Erdoğan had his last meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.