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UPDATE - US does not act fairly when it comes to NATO allies: Turkish president

UPDATE - US does not act fairly when it comes to NATO allies: Turkish president
There is no comparison in Türkiye and Greece's standing in NATO, says President Erdogan


By Merve Aydogan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the US on Wednesday for its tilted stance amid simmering tensions between Türkiye and Greece, calling out Washington for its unequal treatment of NATO allies.

There is simply no comparison in Türkiye and Greece’s importance in NATO, Erdogan said in a televised interview, stressing that the US “cannot find another ally like Türkiye.”

Erdogan reminded that Türkiye is ranked among the top five countries in NATO in terms of both its contributions to the bloc and through the power provided by its land forces.

He also said that according to drone footage, there are armored vehicles stationed on Greek islands that are supposed to be demilitarized, which he described as "unacceptable."

“Our expectation from the US is not to involve Greece in wrong calculations and not to allow the manipulation of international public opinion,” he added.

He denounced Washington’s recent decision to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration, terming it “inexplicable in terms of content and timing.”

He said the move “will not go unanswered” and pledged to take all necessary steps to protect Turkish Cypriots.

- Russia's war on Ukraine

Turning to the Ukraine war, Erdogan said he will speak to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr “Zelenskyy wants our support for the four (Russian-controlled) regions (of Ukraine where separation referendums were held) and wants us to convince Putin. I intend to discuss these issues in detail with Putin tomorrow,” he said.

“I wish that they did not hold a referendum but rather we could solve this problem through diplomacy,” he added.

He further voiced "concern" over the possible annexation of Ukrainian regions and said "the Putin I know will do what he puts in his mind somehow."

On fears of a possible nuclear war, Erdogan said the cost of such a conflict would be “catastrophic.”

“One should not even think about this, let alone talk about it. Solving this issue through diplomacy would be the most appropriate step,” he said.

Citing his high number of diplomatic exchanges on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, Erdogan said all of his counterparts hailed Türkiye's mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine

While expressing hope for peace in Ukraine, the Turkish president said it would be an "illusion" if an immediate result is expected.

Regarding the grain deal between Russia and Ukraine that was brokered by Türkiye, Erdogan reaffirmed the importance of exporting Russian fertilizers.

If the export of fertilizers is resolved, then it would immediately be sent to countries in need of fertilizers and lead to an "abundance," he said.

"Until now, we have received mainly Ukrainian grain. But now I think and hope that Russia will come into play regarding grain and fertilizer," he added.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February.

A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

Since the first ship left Ukraine under the deal on Aug. 1, more than 215 ships with over 5 million tons of agricultural products have left ports.

On Türkiye’s ongoing anti-terrorism efforts, President Erdogan said his country's efforts against terrorist groups will continue as long as they exist in Syria and pose a threat to Türkiye's national security.

Saying that Türkiye's cross-border operations against terrorists not only ensure the country's national security but also regional stability, Erdogan called on the US and Russia to fulfill the pledges they made in a 2019 agreement on eliminating terrorist organizations from northern Syria.​​​​​​​

In 2019, Russia expressed its commitment to remove the YPG/PKK terrorist organization from the Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas of northwestern Syria after reaching an agreement with Türkiye during Ankara's Operation Peace Spring.

Moscow had also promised that the terrorists would be removed from areas up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the Turkish border until the M4 road and in the area adjacent to the Operation Peace Spring zone.

Likewise, then US Vice President Mike Pence had also pledged to Türkiye that the YPG/PKK terror group would withdraw from the Operation Peace Spring zone.

But neither Moscow nor Washington have kept their promises.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

On Ankara’s request for recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Erdogan said: “If the UN Security Council acts fairly, we will speed up this process.”

He also urged the international community to recognize the TRNC, adding “this would open the way to resolving the Cyprus issue.”

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

source: News Feed
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