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Turkey prepares for more roles in NATO

19 29 16

Amid claims that it no longer has a place in the Western defense alliance, Turkey is preparing for a greater role in the new NATO strategy expected to be approved in the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12.

It is not in vain that United States President Donald Trump told Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan he was looking forward to meeting him during the NATO Summit, which will be Erdoğan’s first international conference after being re-elected on June 24, in a phone call with the Turkish president on June 26 to congratulate him on winning the June 24 elections. Among the decisions expected to be taken at the summit, there are strategic topics involving Turkey.

One of them is for Turkey to assume the command of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2021. The formation of such a force was decided at the NATO Wales Summit 2014 as a “Spearhead Force” to the NATO Response Force (NRF) for the intervention of a possible crisis within a week. Seven NATO members contribute to it in six groups: The German-Dutch forces, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and Turkey. It is a force of around 5,000 formed in five battalions supported by air forces, navies, and special forces of member countries.

According to NATO documents, the idea was to “better respond to the changing security environment to the east and south of the Alliance’s borders.” Turkey, the most southeastern member of the alliance, neighbor both Russia and Middle Eastern countries like Iran, Iraq, and Syria. One of the three tactical command headquarters, the........

© Hürriyet Daily News