NATO stresses importance of Turkey to its southern flank

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the European Union is not an alternative to NATO.

This is with regard to European security, emphasizing the importance of Türkiye to NATO’s southern wing.

This came in statements he made to reporters on Thursday, prior to the meeting of NATO defense ministers in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Stoltenberg also expressed his welcome for European members of NATO to make more investments in the field of defense, which NATO has called for for many years.

He pointed out that NATO also calls on its European allies to invest more in advanced capabilities and make more of their forces highly prepared.

He explained that the allies in Europe are responding to this matter, “but this is not an alternative to NATO, but rather a way to strengthen it.”

He stressed the need not to resort to any means that suggest that the alliance is trying to separate Europe from North America.

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Stoltenberg pointed out that the share of allied countries other than European Union countries in NATO’s defense expenditures amounts to 80 percent.

 In addition, he stated, “It’s not just about resources but also about geography.

If you look to the south you will see Turkey, which is not a member of the European Union but is important to our southern flank.”

He stressed that there are countries such as Norway and Iceland in the north, and although they are not major military powers, they are important in terms of transatlantic communication.

The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are not members of the European Union, but they are important to Europe’s security.

 He continued: “Therefore, the strength of NATO lies in our bringing Europe and North America together.”