PKK attacks despite peace efforts: NATO

The NATO chief urges Turkey to continue working for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the PKK, even as the outlawed group continues to carry out attacks
NATO Secretary- General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. AP photo

NATO Secretary- General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. AP photo

NATO will not interfere with Turkey’s fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, because it is a national issue, but welcomes the share of intelligence and information between the member states, according to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Rasmussen also confirmed there will not be any intelligence sharing with Israel from NATO’s radar system that will be deployed in Turkey’s eastern province of Malatya. He also said the alliance would not be involved in any tension between Israel and Turkey resulting from Greek Cyprus’ gas drilling efforts in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We consider [tension in the eastern Mediterranean Sea] a bilateral relation and a matter between Turkey and Israel. But of course all parties should look for ways and means to ease these tensions,” Rasmussen said in an interview with daily Hürriyet. NATO will not interfere with national decisions such as the fight against the PKK, said Rasmussen, adding that he appreciated that the government under the leadership of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tried to find peaceful solutions. “Against that background I find it not only disappointing, but also outrageous, that the PKK continues horrific attacks against people in Turkey,” he said.

Responding to a question on Turkey’s cross-border land operation against the PKK, Rasmussen expressed NATO’s solidarity with Turkey, adding that NATO will not interfere. “Of course NATO allies would stand ready to assist each other when it comes to relevant information and intelligence,” Rasmussen said, adding that NATO is not going to deploy military capabilities against the PKK. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU and has fought against Turkey since 1984.

Rasmussen denied claims that NATO’s radar system to be deployed in Turkey would share intelligence with Israel. “NATO does not interfere with bilateral agreements in individual allies and partners outside the alliance and as such does not have a security agreement with Israel.”

Rasmussen also said the decision has not been made yet on whether Israel will establish missions at NATO headquarters.

On a question whether the change of axis in Turkey worries NATO, Rasmussen said: “Turkey plays a crucial role in its cultural bonds with countries in the region and beyond, which makes it a key player. Turkey stands as an excellent example of how freedom and democracy can bring positive progress to a country,” and Turkey can also serve as a model in the region. As NATO prepares to begin a campaign for the 60th anniversary of Turkish membership, Rasmussen said this was an opportunity to meet younger generations who “tend to take peace and security for granted because they don’t remember the Cold War.”

NATO not to intervene in Syria

NATO does not plan to intervene in Syria because it lacks a U.N. mandate and support from countries in the region, said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “We took on the responsibility for the Libya operation because there was a clear U.N. mandate and support. And none of these are fulfilled with regards to Syria,” he said.

Sunday, October 2, 2011
BRUSSELS – Hürriyet