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UPDATE - NATO chief backs Turkey's right to protect borders

UPDATE - NATO chief backs Turkey's right to protect borders
Jens Stoltenberg says no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey


By Ayhan Simsek

MUNICH (AA) - NATO has voiced support for Turkey’s military operation against terrorists in northwestern Syria's Afrin region, but it also urged for a “proportionate" and “measured” response.

Speaking at a panel discussion in the Munich Security Conference on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the conflict in Syria poses security threats to Ankara.

"Turkey has some legitimate security concerns. No other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey. But we expect them to address these concerns in a proportionate and measured way,” he said.

Stoltenberg thanked Turkey for briefing NATO allies about its ongoing "Operation Olive Branch” against terrorist PYD/PKK targets in northwestern Syria.

"We welcome the fact that Turkey has briefed all NATO allies on the operation in Afrin, where several allies have underlined the importance of measured and proportionate response,” he said.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along its border.

Afrin -- a region bordering Turkey's southern Hatay and Kilis provinces -- has been controlled by the PYD/PKK terrorist group since 2012, when Syrian regime forces withdrew from the area.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, killing nearly 40,000 people.

Commenting on recent developments in Iraq and Syria, NATO chief praised Turkey’s support for the global coalition against terrorist group Daesh, also known as ISIS.

"Turkey has been a key member of that coalition,” he said.

“The progress we have made in defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria, would not have been possible to achieve without Turkey being a key player,” he added.

Stoltenberg underlined that Turkey provided critical infrastructure, airports and many other facilities which had been important for the coalition.

source: News Feed
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