Former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized the West for not providing air-defense systems to Turkey when the NATO member country needed them.
In a speech in Berlin, Gabriel, now the sitting chairman of the Atlantik Brucke (Atlantic Bridge) think tank, said he had worked hard to improve ties between Turkey and the West.
Underlining that he had opposed the rejection of Turkey’s bid to procure air defense systems, including the U.S.-made Patriot, he pointed out that such systems were defensive and could not be used to attack another country.
Turkey consequently decided to purchase S-400 missile defense system from Russia, a hard decision for a NATO country, Gabriel said.
He emphasized that the West should be careful in maintaining relations with Ankara and should do its best to keep the country within the Western bloc.
Highlighting the geopolitical significance of Turkey, Gabriel said that while Ankara’s policies could be criticized, he remain adamant that the country staying in the Western bloc benefited all parties to that relationship.
Referring to the U.S. support for the YPG, the PKK terror group’s branch in Syria, Gabriel underlined that the creation of a terror state in northern Syria would be intolerable for Turkey, regardless of government.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations 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 Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
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