Ankara, August 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
NATO has responded to recent reports over Turkey’s membership and the alliance’s stance regarding the failed coup attempt of July 15 in the country, saying it was not a question of debate.
“Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question. Our alliance is committed to collective defense and founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, human rights and the rule of law. NATO counts on the continued contributions of Turkey and Turkey can count on the solidarity and support of NATO,” spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement, noting that Ankara was a valued ally with its substantial contributions and attendance in consensus-based decisions about security challenges.
The alliance added that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the night of the coup attempt.
“The NATO secretary general spoke to the Turkish foreign minister on the night of the attempted coup and later with President Erdoğan, strongly condemning the attempted coup and reiterating full support for Turkey’s democratic institutions. He expressed support for the elected government of Turkey and respect for the courage of the Turkish people. He also conveyed his condolences for those who had lost their lives during the coup attempt,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Tacan İldem noted Turkey’s NATO membership could not be questioned by any means.
“NATO stood by Turkey in its hard times. [The] July 15 [failed coup] was an attack on democratic institutions. NATO condemned the July 15 [failed coup] in the most powerful expressions and appreciated the Turkish people’s stance. Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question. Turkey is a reliable ally of NATO. There has been no deficiency in Turkey’s contributions to NATO. I hope that the statement would remove different comments. NATO’s official statements should be relied [upon]. NATO attributes importance to [Turkey’s current] dialogue with Russia,” İldem told private broadcaster NTV.