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Stoltenberg Brushes Off Greece-Turkey Tensions: "Not An Issue For NATO"

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In the last two months, tensions between two NATO member states have escalated dramatically - Turkey has threatened to invade Greek islands, Greece has responded, and Greeks now see Turkey as the greatest threat to their existence.

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But, the rapidly souring tensions between Greece and Turkey are “not an issue for NATO,” the General Secretary of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu.

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As Keep Talking Greece reports, saying that both countries are “two highly valued NATO allies” Stoltenberg hailed the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, after the Mirage 2000 crashed and the pilot was killed on Thursday when returning form a mission to intercept Turkish F-16s violating Greek airspace.

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‘Tension in Aegean should be resolved between Turkey, Greece’

Q: The tension between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean Sea continues to rise. There are reports that Greece has officially asked NATO to take a more active role in this context. What is NATO’s position on the rising tension between the two NATO allies?

Stoltenberg: Greece and Turkey are two highly valued NATO allies, they have been allies since 1952.

Both contribute to our collective defense. I expect that the differences we see on some issues are solved between Turkey and Greece in the spirit of good relations. In this context, I welcome that the PMs of both countries have recently held a phone conversation and that they have agreed to resolve these differences through dialogue. 

Q: So, NATO does not foresee involvement?

Stoltenberg: No, it’s not an issue for NATO, this is something that has to be addressed between Turkey and Greece. 

Commenting on a wide range of issues including the agenda of his visit, the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, the fight against terrorism, and Syria, Stoltenberg emphasized the importance of Turkey as a valuable strategic ally.

The interview was given ahead of Stoltenberg’s visit to Turkey on May 16th.

No surprise here. No comment. Members need only to contribute to the NATO, while the Alliance sits back and makes plans for the safety of the whole planet...

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