Turkey puts NATO at the centre of its security

by Cristian Florescu

As NATO’s second-largest army, Turkey shares the alliance’s burden and all its values, putting NATO at the centre of its security and at the same time being at the centre of the bloc’s security, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, writes dailysabah.com

Akar, along with senior commanders, followed the activities of the “Outstanding Observer Day” of the On Guard-2021 Exercise. Briefed at the Multinational Joint Warfare Center Command, where the exercise was carried out, Akar stated that we are passing through a period of increased risks and threats at the global and regional level.

Pointing out that the responsibility of international security and defence organizations is heavier than ever, Akar said: “NATO is an organization that has formed the basis of Europe’s security since the Second World War. We believe that NATO, as the most successful alliance in history, is alive and active as it has always been.”

Underlining the fact that Turkey has been a NATO member for nearly 70 years, Akar said: “While Turkey is fighting against Daesh, al-Qaida, PKK/YPG, FETÖ and other terrorist organizations at the same time, despite its preoccupation with the risks, threats and dangers in its region, it continues to contribute uninterruptedly to the alliance’s exercises, force structure and staff. It does whatever it takes to protect NATO and Europe’s borders against terrorism, smuggling and human trafficking. As NATO’s second-largest army, it shares the alliance’s burden and all its values, putting NATO at the centre of its security and at the same time being at the centre of NATO’s security.”

Akar stated that Turkey successfully fulfilled the duty of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) this year.

“Turkey will assume the naval element command of NATO in 2023 and 2028 with TURMARFOR, which will reach full operational capability from the beginning of 2022. We will also fulfil the 2025 Air Component Command as an ally with the Joint Air Component Command capability,” he added.

Noting that important elements such as the Allied Land Command, Maritime Security Center of Excellence, Counter-Terrorism Center of Excellence and Partnership for Peace Training Center, Ballistic Missile Radar Field and Forward Operations Air Base are located in Turkey, these headquarters are the most important elements that make up NATO’s military structure, Akar described them as indispensable components of the general understanding of defence and deterrence.

Stating that such exercises not only increase interoperability but also contribute to the solidarity process, improve combat capabilities and strengthen the alliance’s deterrence, Akar thanked those who contributed to the planning and execution of the exercise’s execution process.

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