NATO should review its functions in changing world: Turkish parliament speaker

WASHINGTON: NATO should review its functions in the changing new world order, said the Turkish parliament speaker on Monday. "Trkiye, as one of NATO's important allies, will continue its membership in NATO and will continue its bilateral relations both institutionally in NATO and with other NATO member countries,' Numan Kurtulmus told Turkish journalists in Washington, D.C. "However, in general, we believe that NATO should also review its new functions in this process,' he added. Trkiye, which boast's NATO's second-largest army, has been a member of the alliance for over 70 years. The fact that some issues with the potential for global conflict have come to the fore, especially the Russia-Ukraine crisis, show how NATO must take certain steps beyond being just a cooperation and solidarity organization in security matters, he added. Kurtulmus is visiting the US through Wednesday to take part in a NATO summit bringing together parliamentary leaders from the 32 NATO member states as well as Ukraine, includin g 23 parliament speakers. "Undoubtedly, the most important of these (functions) is that NATO has a deterrence and security perspective, but in addition, it must also have a peace mission, and we believe that NATO must review its own duties in order to establish peace," he added. Saying that the current era contains significant threats and opportunities, Kurtulmus stressed that the unipolar world order has changed and a new multipolar world system has begun. Ties with US On relations with the US, Kurtulmus said Trkiye works to discuss problems diplomatically at the table. "Today, while we have the opportunity to work together with the US on many issues, we also have significant disagreements on some issues. But Trkiye shares our ideas with our interlocutors on how to put aside our differences of opinion and how to act jointly and solve problems," he added. Turkish-US relations have been strained in recent years due to US support for the terror group YPG/PYD/PKK in northern Syria and disagreements concern ing Trkiye's 2017 purchase of Russia's S-400 air defense system. "Unfortunately, despite our strategic partnership and close cooperation in many areas, the US continues to provide logistical, intelligence, and political support to the PYD. I would like to say that this is the most important difference that poisons our relations," Kurtulmus said. Trkiye has long complained of the US working with the PKK/YPG/PYD on the pretext of fighting the terrorist group Daesh/ISIS. Turkish officials have said using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense. Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations since 2016 across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019). In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Trkiye, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Trkiye, the US and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG/PYD is the PKK's Syrian offshoot. Sanctions on Trkiye On sanctions on Trkiye under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), Kurtulmus said Trkiye's exclusion from the F-35 program is a "serious double standard." "Trkiye was excluded from a project that we founded from the very beginning, without any reasonable justification. I hope the money we paid there will be returned," he added. Washington has long tried to deter countries from buying military equipment from Russia, threatening them with punitive measures under CAATSA. In 2019, under then-President Donald Trump, the US suspended Trkiye from the F-35 fighter jet program after objecting to its buying a Russian S-400 missile defense system, claiming the Russian system would endanger the fighter jets. Trkiye has said repeatedly that there is no conflict between the two, and proposed a commission to study the issue. Trkiye also said it fulfilled its obli gations on the F-35s and that its suspension broke the rules. Ankara maintains that the fighter jets would strengthen not only Trkiye, but also NATO. Previously, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he believed Trkiye and the US will make progress in talks and that Ankara will recoup the $1.4 billion it paid for the F-35s. Saying that CAATSA sanctions were used against Trkiye as a political tool, Kurtulmus said: "I believe these are unfair and double-standard sanctions." Trkiye has become a country that can produce its own defense needs and can even compete in the world in this field, he added. "Thus, of course, as an independent state, we will pay at least as much attention to our own national security priorities as we do to our alliances. In this context, Trkiye is never in an arms race. It is aware that arms are a very dangerous and threatening development for the world. "But in order to hold its head up high, especially in our region where there is great turbulence, Trkiye must meet its own defense n eeds," he said. New opportunities for Trkiye Stressing that developments in the world offer new opportunities to Trkiye, Kurtulmus said the country is mobilizing all its strength to solve problems and establish global peace order by boosting cooperation and solidarity with many different regions. "We share all our views with our interlocutors, especially on ensuring an immediate and permanent cease-fire in the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Gaza crises. We invite people of different views around the world to take joint efforts, especially in order to establish a new, equitable world system. "It is no longer possible to solve any problem in the world with this (current) world system. It is not possible for any state or group to solve the world's problems alone," he said. Kurtulmus added that it is essential to establish a world system on both a political and economic scale with a new understanding by bringing different ideas to the table. Source: Anadolu Agency