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Erdogan says he will oppose á to NATO plans for the Baltic if he does not recognize his “terrorist” enemies

December 3, 2019

ISTANBUL, Dec. 3 (Reuters / EP) –

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Tuesday that his government will oppose NATO's plans for the defense of the Baltic countries and Poland if the Atlantic Alliance does not recognize the groups it fights as “terrorists” Turkey.

Relations between Turkey and the rest of the allied countries have been rarefied by a number of issues, including Turkey's decision to buy Russian missile systems for its campaign in Syria. Several NATO countries have also condemned Turkey's decision to launch a military offensive in northeastern Syria against Kurdish militiamen of the Popular Protection Units (YPG).

The Turkish Government has for the moment refused to support NATO's plans for the defense of Poland and the Baltic countries until it receives more support in its battle against the Syrian Kurdish militiamen of the YPG, which it places as linked terrorists with the militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Before leaving from Ankara to attend the NATO summit in London, Erdogan told the press that he spoke on Monday by telephone with the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and that both have agreed to meet with the leaders of the Baltic countries in London to talk about NATO defense plans.

“We can gladly go together and discuss these issues,” said the Turkish president. “But if our friends in NATO do not recognize as terrorist organizations that we consider as terrorist organizations … We will oppose whatever steps are taken,” said the president of Turkey.

A head of security services in Turkey said on Monday that Turkey is not blackmailing NATO with its rejection of the Baltic defense plans and Poland but made it clear that it has full right to veto proposals within the Atlantic Alliance.

Turkey, France, Germany and the United Kingdom plan to hold a meeting on the margins of the NATO summit. Erodgan has said that Turkish plans to create a safe area in northeastern Syria will be addressed, despite criticism that this proposal has received from allied European countries in Turkey.

On the other hand, Turkey has had differences with Greece and Cyprus regarding the rights of exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the waters of the coast of Cyprus. Erdogan has said he will meet with Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis in London on the margins of the Atlantic Alliance summit.