Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic's letter to Wall Street Journal:
Turkey Is and Has Been a Reliable NATO Member
Turkey has been a proud and indispensable ally for over 60 years.
Aug. 19, 2018 1:01 p.m. ET
Bernard-Henri Levy falsely claims that Turkey has been an unreliable ally (“
NATO Should Give Turkey the Boot
,” op-ed, Aug. 14), but that argument ignores decades of history. Turkey has been a proud and indispensable ally for over 60 years: as a front-line combatant against ISIS and other religious extremists, guardian of NATO’s southern flank and home to the alliance’s second-largest armed forces.
Mr. Levy accuses Turkey of spreading Islamist extremism and fomenting violence in Syria, but the opposite is true. We provide a safe haven for approximately four million Syrian refugees who, at this very moment, live free from terror and have access to homes, schools and health-care facilities established by our government. Perhaps he forgets the defeat of ISIS at the hands of Turkish troops in Jarabulus and other battles against ISIS waged and won by and with Turkish armed forces.
Like our NATO allies, Turkey is a democracy whose government is freely elected by its people—not a “caliphate” in the making, as Mr. Levy claims. With a huge voter turnout across the country, Turkey’s democracy is vibrant and dynamic. The numbers tell the story: An amazing 86.2% of eligible voters went to the polls to cast their votes in an election that was the most monitored by international observers in recent history. Over 50 million Turks cast ballots for six different candidates.
As NATO’s most strategically located member, Turkey ensures global security at a time of unprecedented challenges facing the alliance. We have committed to spending 2% of GDP on defense by 2024, and the share of our military equipment spending to the defense budget is already above the NATO guideline of 20%.
Turkey’s Incirlik air base also hosts a crucial staging ground for the international coalition to defeat ISIS. Located 60 miles from the Syrian border, the base’s proximity to the front lines allows coalition strike missions to stay in the air longer without refueling and to react more quickly. That saves American and coalition lives. Incirlik is playing a vital role in staging operations that have put our enemies on the run.
We stand by our NATO allies during this challenging time and proudly stand on guard at the front lines to face future threats to our collective security, and expect nothing less from our allies.
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey