Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) met with Turkish Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar and Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Binali Yıldırım in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss the security situation on the Black Sea, in Syria and other countries in the region.
"Russia's activity in the Kerch Strait has significantly worsened the security situation in the region, and it is important that Western states not drop their guard regarding what is going on," Luik was quoted in a ministry press report as saying. He added that Russia's clear goal is to stir up tensions and create a situation that may lead to escalation.
"As a NATO ally, Turkey plays a significant role in ensuring stability, and has a unique overview of what is going on on the Black Sea," he added.
At his meeting with Yıldırım, National Defence Committee of the Grand National Assembly chairman İsmet Yılmaz and other members of the committee, it was noted that Russia with its most recent steps has aggravated the situation in the region, and Turkey's goal in the current situation is first and foremost to de-escalate tensions between Ukraine and Russia in order to avoid the risk of a bigger clash.
Turkey itself is currently in a situation in which the situation in a number of neighbouring countries is significantly affecting its own security. Over three million Syrian refugees currently reside in Turkey due to the conflict in Syria, for example, which affects both Turkey and Europe as a whole.
During his visit to Turkey, Luik also laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, met with Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, and visited a special forces base in Ankara, where he was briefed on the role of Turkey's special forces in NATO-led operations and exercises.
Estonia and Turkey are bound by robust defence-related cooperation. Over 100 members of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) have spent time completing various courses and training in Turkey, while a Turkish officer has studied at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu. A Turkish officer is also serving at the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE).
Editor: Aili Vahtla