Baltic States and Polish leaders to meet Turkey's Erdogan at NATO Summit

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Estonian foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Estonian foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Jarno Kuusinen/Prime Minister's Office, Finland

Leaders from the Baltic States and Poland aim to discuss the issue of defense plans with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in London Tuesday and Wednesday.

Erdogan recently said he would not support the Polish-Baltic States defense plan until the alliance in turn supported Ankara over its concerns over the fight against Kurdish YPG forces in northern Syria, which it views as a terrorist organization.

Before heading for the summit, Erdogan said he would discuss the matter with Polish and Baltic leaders, and foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) told ERR a meeting would take place on Tuesday in London.

"There are effective defense plans in place and NATO's collective defense is in place. We do not have any quarrel with Turkey on the issue of renewing our region's defense plans. The issue is broader and it is in our interest to find a swift solution. Today the Baltic, Polish and Turkish Heads of State intend to discuss this issue. My colleagues and I have discussed this issue in London," Reinsalu said.

Prime Minister's statement

Prime minister Jüri Ratas issued a statement Tuesday afternoon

"All members of the alliance are protected. It is perfectly normal and customary for us to review and update our common plans with other NATO allies on a regular basis. If the opportunity arises, I will certainly be ready to meet with the Turkish president on the margins of the NATO Heads of State summit, with the Turkish, Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts, to discuss the issue," the prime minister said, according to a government press release.

Paet: Erdogan trying to wreck NATO relations

Meanwhile Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (Reform) says that Erdogan has ruined Turkey's relations with the EU and its member states, and is now attempting to do the same with members of NATO, BNS reports.

"The Turkish president has managed to ruin Turkey's relations with the EU and its member states," Paet said on Tuesday.

"Now he has launched similar demolition work in relations with its NATO allies. Any self-respecting state and head thereof would regard such extortion tactics as degrading and out of the question," Paet continued, adding that sadly, in his view the Turkish president is willing to throw some members of NATO under the bus and link certain issues in a way that is regarded unacceptable both within NATO and dignified international communication.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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