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Erdogan seeks NATO focus on Turkish security concerns

1 min

In a significant meeting on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his hopes that the next NATO Secretary-General would prioritize Turkey's terrorism-related concerns. 

Mark Rutte and Recep Tayyip Erdogan © X

In a significant meeting on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his hopes that the next NATO Secretary-General would prioritize Turkey's terrorism-related concerns. 

This discussion took place in Istanbul with Mark Rutte, the leading candidate for the NATO position.

During his talks with the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister, Erdogan emphasized the importance of combating terrorism, which has been a longstanding priority for Turkey. 

He specifically mentioned the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), which Turkey and its Western allies consider a terrorist organization. Erdogan stressed that, in the spirit of the Atlantic Alliance, there should be no tolerance for any terrorist organization, especially the PKK and its affiliates.

Erdogan also highlighted the need for intensified efforts to lift sanctions, restrictions, and obstacles in the defense industry among allies. He argued that these measures are imperative for the new NATO Secretary-General to undertake, ensuring smoother defense cooperation within the Alliance.

Besides Rutte, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is also a contender for the NATO Secretary-General position. Erdogan mentioned having discussed Turkey's demands with Iohannis during a phone call last week. 

While Erdogan did not disclose Turkey’s preferred candidate, he emphasized that the decision would be based on "reason" and wished Rutte success in his "new journey."

Rutte is currently the frontrunner to replace Norway's Jens Stoltenberg as the head of the Atlantic Alliance, with support from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. 

However, Hungary has declared it would not support Rutte, citing his critical stance on the regression of democratic principles under Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

This high-stakes dialogue underscores the complex geopolitical dynamics within NATO, highlighting Turkey's strategic concerns and the diverse political considerations that influence the Alliance's leadership decisions.

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