Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he wanted “concrete support” from NATO allies as his country battles threats originating from the nine-year conflict in Syria.
“We expect concrete support from all our allies to this struggle,” he said alongside the NATO’s chief during a visit to Brussels, adding that it was Turkey making a major sacrifice in Syria.
“NATO is in a critical process in which it needs to clearly show its alliance solidarity” with Turkey, Erdogan added.
Erdogan also called on NATO to fulfill previous commitments it has made to bolster Turkey’s defences.
His visit to Brussels comes as pressure mounts on European countries after Erdogan said he would no longer hold back refugees heading to the West.
Turkey is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
Nearly a million people in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib have fled towards the Turkish border triggered by an offensive by the Syrian regime backed by Russian air power.
Turkey lost more than 50 troops to regime fire in Idlib in February alone.
“Our allies should display their solidarity with our country without discrimination and without laying down political conditions,” Erdogan said.
“It is very important that the support we demand is met without any further delay.”
He also blasted Greece for blaming Turkey for the recent migrant crisis.
“It is irrational and inconsiderate that an ally and a neighbouring country put the finger of blame on Turkey for the irregulation migration,” he said.
“We will not allow this country to try to get unfair gains by abusing the current situation and the European Union.”
New challenges in Syria
Turkey’s recent offensive in Syria’s Idlib has given birth to a number of issues. The province of Idlib has drawn new wave of migrant influx heading towards in Europe.
It has led to the Greek-Turkish tensions. Russian-Turkish ties were also put to test when a Syrian airstrike killed 37 Turkish soldiers. Russia and Turkey narrowly escaped a war in Middle East after Erdogan and Putin held talks in Moscow. Turkey seems stuck in Syria as it has called for NATO help.
AFP with inputs from GVS News Desk