Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday the ISIS-claimed Manchester bombing proved the need for NATO allies to cooperate more closely and share information swiftly to confront terrorism. Erdogan said member states of the military alliance must acknowledge they faced the same threats.
Turkey’s relations with NATO ally the United States have been strained by Washington’s decision to arm Kurdish YPG militias who are part of a force preparing to fight in Syria.
Turkey regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union. Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and as a valuable partner in the fight against ISIS in Syria.
“Terrorism is not the problem of a single country but it is a global issue. Global problems can only be solved through global cooperation,” Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara before heading to Brussels for a NATO summit on Thursday.
“We still see the distinctions of ‘my terrorist, your terrorist’. We have to move away from this.”
“The antidote of terrorism is solidarity,” Erdogan said. “Instant sharing is obligatory in terms of intelligence. In this environment, it is compulsory that NATO is more active and it specifically has to offer more support to allies.”
The Turkish president will also have a potentially tense meeting in Brussels on Thursday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.
“We are not trying to break away from the European Union but the bloc should fulfill its responsibilities (to Turkey),” Erdogan told the news conference.
“The EU seems to be in a mood as if waiting for Turkey to pull out. And we say, if there is such a situation then you make this decision and we will not make it difficult for you.”
Tensions with the EU have spilled over into NATO. Austria’s call last year for an end to Turkey’s EU accession talks led Ankara to withdraw cooperation from some of the alliance’s training projects.
Ankara said the move was aimed at Vienna but NATO officials said other countries were affected.
A separate dispute with the EU’s leading country, Germany, has further clouded relations.