Stoltenberg: Recent tension between Turkey and Greece is not an issue for NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg drew attention to already existing NATO presence in Turkey and called on all allies to provide more support to the country.

Stoltenberg spoke to Anadolu Agency  at the NATO headquarters in Brussels ahead of his official visit to Turkey on April 16.

The NATO chief said the aim of his trip to Ankara is to “to prepare for the upcoming [NATO] summit in Brussels in July,” and that he is expected to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, and also Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Stoltenberg said he highly values the visit to Turkey, as he sees the country it is “a highly valued and key ally for many reasons, not just for its strategic location.” He added that during the visit he will “discuss the preparations for the important summit where we will address issues like how we continue to adapt NATO to a more demanding security environment.”

Stoltenberg reiterated the alliance’s position regarding Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile defense systems, saying it was “a national decision.” He also welcomed Turkey’s agreement with Italy and France, in the EUROSAM consortium to start to develop missile and air defense systems as well as reports of talks between Ankara and Washington on the sale of Patriot batteries.

Speaking about the recent tension between Turkey and Greece, Stoltenberg said “it is not an issue for NATO, this is something that has to be addressed between Turkey and Greece.”

Stoltenberg’s visit to Ankara is expected to focus on a wide range of issues, including Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, the fight against terrorism and Syria.