UPDATES WITH FURTHER REMARKS BY PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN
By Ali Murat Alhas and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish president on Thursday said Turkey took NATO allies' security concerns seriously and expected a similar policy toward Turkey from its alliance partners.
Speaking to reporters about his meetings during Wednesday's NATO leaders' summit in London, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the main topics were the refugee crisis, fight against terrorism, burden sharing, cyber and hybrid threats, strengthening solidarity among allies, Russia and China.
Underlining that Turkey was the only NATO member fighting against terror groups such as YPG/PKK in northern Syria, Daesh/ISIS and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), he said: "We regret to see that some allies are hand in hand with these terror groups while emphasizing the fight against terrorism."
"All allies must take our security concerns seriously, just as we take the alliance's security concerns seriously."
Erdogan added that NATO leaders only talked about the fight against terrorism, without taking action on the matter.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey stood as one of the strongest members of NATO and has participated in the most critical missions of the alliance since becoming a member in 1952.
Noting that Turkey was currently present in various NATO's missions varying from Afghanistan to Iraq, Erdogan said Turkey's military and financial share in the pact was more than that of many other members.
Erdogan went on to say that the alliance's power depended on the solidarity between members, adding the insecurity of one member would mean insecurity for the others.
- Four-way meeting
Referring to Wednesday's four-way meeting during the NATO leaders' meeting between Turkish, French, German and British leaders, Erdogan said Turkey's counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria was discussed in detail.
He said he told his counterparts that Turkey had no intention of leaving the region without first securing its peace.
"We entered [northern Syria] to establish peace, and we will establish peace there," Erdogan said, adding there was no change in Turkey's plans to establish a safe-zone in the area.
Erdogan said he criticized his counterparts who boasted about eradicating the threat from Daesh in alliance with the YPG/PKK terrorists, while Daesh was still present in the area.
He went on to say that Turkey inflicted significant blows to Daesh, with over 3,000 of its members neutralized in Al-Bab, northern Syria, along with many others in other parts of the country. He added that Turkey has arrested over 7,000 Daesh terrorists.
Noting that though some NATO members praised Ankara for hosting up to four million Syrians, the EU had not yet fulfilled its promise to provide a total of €6 billion (over $6.6 billion) of financial support for Turkey.
Erdogan said he had "fruitful" talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as well as U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the NATO meeting.
"We discussed some problematic issues, again[...]We are going to focus on [the goal of reaching] $100 billion bilateral trade volume. Also, we discussed the NATO meeting and regional issues. Our friends assigned on the issues of the S-400 and F-35 will continue their efforts," Erdogan said, referring to his meeting with Trump.
He went on to say that a recent summit between himself and the leaders of France, the U.K. and Germany had decided to hold annual four-way meetings starting February 2020.
On a recent maritime deal with Libya, Erdogan said the agreement would be implemented so long as Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) stood firm and strong.