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4 Dec, 2019 18:29

Turkey-NATO spat over Kurds resolved? Stoltenberg says bloc greenlighted Baltics & Poland defense plan

Turkey-NATO spat over Kurds resolved? Stoltenberg says bloc greenlighted Baltics & Poland defense plan

NATO countries have agreed to revise defense plans for Poland and the Baltics, the bloc's chief said, signaling that Turkey backed off with its threats to block the initiative unless it received support for its operation in Syria.

“Today, we have agreed to the updated plan for the Baltic countries and Poland. So, I welcome that and it shows that we are able to also move forward and update and revise plans, including the defense plans for the Baltic countries and Poland, as we did today,” NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the 70th anniversary summit of the alliance leaders in London.

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The defense plans for the Baltics and Poland, who claim they are threatened by Russia, were in limbo after Turkey pledged to block them unless the alliance backs its incursion in Syria and labels Kurdish-led militias a “threat” and designates the biggest group – the People's Protection Units (YPG) – as a terrorist organization. The operation against Syria's Kurds had earlier received overwhelming condemnation from NATO allies.

Stoltenberg provided little detail on how exactly the agreement was reached, but it looks like Ankara agreed without its demands being met. While the YPG issue has been discussed among the allies, it was “not addressed specifically” during the summit. Ankara, for its part, has remained silent on the topic so far.

While the Turkey-NATO standoff seems to be over for now, the anniversary get-together of the bloc's leaders still appeared to be very divisive. The event was plagued by the fallout of the explosive remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron about the “brain death” of the alliance, which caused the politicians to repeatedly throw jabs at one another.

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The summit was topped with PM Justin Trudeau getting apparently caught on hot mic gossiping about Donald Trump with Macron and UK PM Boris Johnson, which caused an angry reaction from the US president. Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” and ultimately scrapped the final conference, claiming the summit was productive enough already and no further talking was needed.

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