Erdoğan talks to NATO chief, Ukrainian president

Erdoğan said Ankara continues to adhere to NATO’s values and spirit of alliance, while Stoltenberg said Turkey is an important NATO ally that contributes greatly to the alliance
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Saturday, 17 March 2018 19:52

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, separately, over the phone late on March 16, according to a diplomatic source, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 

In the conversation with Stoltenberg, Erdoğan shared information about the latest developments in the ongoing military operation in Syria’s Afrin region. 

Turkish army officially declared on January 20 the launch of an offensive targeting the positions of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People's Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin region in northwest Syria. The Turkish AKP government's excuse was the threat against national interests and border security. 

The operation has been conducted jointly with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group.

Erdoğan said it was sad to see some NATO allies allowing some groups while regarding Islamic State as the only threat in the region. 

Erdoğan added Ankara continues to adhere to NATO’s values and spirit of alliance, while Stoltenberg said Turkey is an important NATO ally that contributes greatly to the alliance. During the conversation, Erdoğan also wished Stoltenberg a happy birthday. 

Later, the president also talked to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko over the phone, according to a presidential source. The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and expressed resolve to improve the economic, trade, tourism and defence ties between the two countries. 

Developments in Crimea and issues of Crimean Tatars’ were also discussed.