NATO Says Turkey Is ‘Valued Ally’ After Erdogan Visit to RussiaBy
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization called Turkey a “valued ally” a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia in his first trip abroad since last month’s failed coup.
Erdogan and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, agreed on Aug. 9 to deepen economic cooperation in a bid to mend ties that deteriorated last year after Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the border with war-ravaged Syria.
The meeting in St. Petersburg also followed an assertion by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on July 18 that NATO would assess whether Turkey upholds democratic values amid a wave of arrests tied to the attempt by a group of Turkish military rebels to overthrow Erdogan. Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952.
“NATO counts on the continued contributions of Turkey and Turkey can count on the solidarity and support of NATO,” the 28-nation alliance said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday in Brussels. “Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question.”
The organization said it was was responding to “speculative press reports regarding NATO’s stance regarding the failed coup in Turkey and Turkey’s NATO membership.”