Turkey to Block NATO Baltic Defense if Alliance Doesn’t Declare Kurds Terrorists

Secretary-General insists NATO will defend Baltic if attacked

Since their invasion of Syria, Turkey has been something of an outlier within NATO. Some nations are openly criticizing them for the attack, and some suggesting expelling Turkey from NATO outright, though no mechanism exists for doing that.

During this week’s meeting, Turkey’s President Erdogan looked to create a major potential obstacle to one major focus, the NATO military buildup in the Baltic States to “defend” against Russia. Erdogan threatened to block this plan entirely if the alliance doesn’t announce that they view the Syrian Kurds’ YPG as terrorists.

Erdogan insists he wants NATO’s help in fighting the Kurds, and has threatened to object to everything NATO does at the summit if they don’t agree to focus on the terrorists. This demand is almost certainly a non-starter, but if Erdogan follows through, it precludes any unanimous votes.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appeared dismissive of the whole matter, saying that NATO’s entire alliance will respond militarily to any attacks of the Baltic countries.

DMs from Estonia and Lithuania, two of the Baltic states, were even more dismissive, calling the Turkish position a “second-tier problem” that will be easy to sort out.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.