NATO-Turkey Ties: Stoltenberg visiting Turkey in show of solidarity

11:46 Sep. 9, 2016

Stoltenberg visiting Turkey in show of solidarity

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shake hands before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 (AP photo)

NATO chief arrives in Ankara for the first time since the July 15 coup attempt

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Ankara for a two-day visit on 8 September, as a sign of support for the Turkish people and their democracy, the Alliance's press service said in a statement.

The Secretary General met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss Turkey's contributions to the Alliance's shared security – including in Afghanistan, with the fight against ISIL, and in NATO's efforts to stop human trafficking in the Aegean Sea.

Read also Steinmeier and Stoltenberg back initiative to create EU armed forces

NATO continues to stand in solidarity with Turkey, with increased naval and air presence, and with defensive missile systems at the border with Syria, Stoltenberg said. He also welcomed Turkey's efforts against Islamic State and added that Ankara had a right to defend itself.

NATO chief is visiting Turkey for the first time since the July 15 coup attempt raised concern about the integrity of the alliance's second-largest military.

 "Any attack on democracy, in any of our countries, is an attack on the very foundation of our Alliance. A strong and democratic Turkey is essential for the stability and security of Europe and the region," Stoltenberg reiterated.

Earlier this week NATO Secretary General had visited Georgia.

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