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2019.12.03 12:00

Turkey 'will stand against' NATO plans for Baltics over Syria, confirms Erdogan

LRT.lt2019.12.03 12:00

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday that Ankara will continue blocking updated NATO defence plans for the Baltic states and Poland until the Alliance designates the Kurdish groups in northern Syria as terrorist organisations

Erdogan agreed to meet with the leaders of the Baltic states and Poland to discuss the issue, according to Reuters.

“With pleasure, we can come together and discuss these issues [in London] as well,” he told reporters. “But if our friends at NATO do not recognise as terrorist organisations those we consider terrorist organizations [...] we will stand against any step that will be taken there.”

Erdogan is attending the NATO summit in London on December 3-4, where he is expected to rally support for Ankara's fight against the Kurds in northern Syria following Turkey's invasion into the region.

Until the Alliance designates the Kurdish groups in northern Syria as terrorist organisations, Turkey is reportedly blocking an updated NATO defence plan for the Baltic states and Poland.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, who are in London for the summit, said the Alliance is engaging with Turkey and will likely reach a compromise. Estonian representatives also said discussions are ongoing, and NATO will seek a compromise.

Turkey and Russia

Erdogan also told reporters that ties between Ankara and Moscow are not an alternative to NATO.

"Russia remains one of Turkey’s main partners. However, our relations with Russia are not an alternative to ties with other allies, but, on the contrary, they supplement [each other]," Erdogan is quoted by Russian state-owned news service TASS.

Read more: Turkey holds Baltic NATO plans hostage over Syria – 'it's not the first time'