NATO, Saudi Arabia back Turkey's Syria, Iraq military campaign
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:45PM
NATO and Saudi Arabia say they support Turkey's military campaign in Syria and Iraq, as Ankara vows to continue airstrikes against targets in the two Arab countries.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made the remarks during an opening meeting with ambassadors from all of the 28 NATO member states in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Tuesday.
Stoltenberg said NATO was "following developments very closely and we stand in strong solidarity with our ally Turkey."
NATO announced its support for the military campaign in response to a request by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said his country was asking NATO to be prepared to assist Ankara in its fight against ISIL and PKK militants.
'Terrorism in all its forms can never be tolerated or justified. It is right and timely that we hold this meeting today to address the instability on Turkey's doorstep and on NATO's border,' Stoltenberg said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulazizi voiced backing for Ankara's military strikes.
Turkey launched the strikes in the wake of a terrorist bomb attack in the border town of Suruc, which claimed the lives of 32 people. Ankara blamed the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group for the blast.
The Turkish airstrikes targeted positions held by ISIL in Syria as well as those held by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq. The Kurds have been engaged in a conflict in southeastern Turkey for years in a bid to gain self-rule.
Earlier on Tuesday, Erdogan said Ankara would press ahead with its attacks to the full, saying, 'Any step back is out of the question.'
Following the attack in Suruc, Ankara also granted Washington permission to use its bases in order to carry out attacks against ISIL militants in Syria.
The latest events mark a major shift in Ankara's policy toward ISIL.
Ankara is also accused of being one of the main supporters of different terrorist groups operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011.
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