By Serkan Demirtaş
Turkey is within its rights in defending itself by staging an incursion in Syria, according to NATO’s secretary-general, who is staging a visit to Ankara.
“Turkey is the NATO ally most affected by the turmoil and violence in Syria and in Iraq. Turkey has suffered many terrorist attacks. Turkey has the right to defend itself, as all nations have,” Jens Stoltenberg told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Sept. 9.
“I welcome Turkish efforts to fight ISIL. This is important for Turkey but this is important also for all NATO allies,” he said.
Stoltenberg met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, as well as opposition parties, in his first trip to the Turkish capital since July 15.
Below are questions and answers from the interview:
This is your first visit to Turkey after the failed coup attempt. Have you ever thought a NATO army could stage a coup attempt against its own democratic government?
The coup attempt in Turkey was a real attack. It was real and dramatic experience for Turkish democracy. The coup attempt was also an attack against the core values of NATO. Therefore, it stands in full solidarity with Turkey, the people of Turkey and its democracy. Turkey was one of the first countries I visited after taking my post as theNATO secretary-general. This is my fifth visit to Turkey and this reflects the essential role of Turkey in the alliance and the importance of Turkey for all of the NATO.