On Thursday, the United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper has warned Turkey, which is “heading in wrong direction” with its offensive against Northern Syria and its deal with Russia to jointly drill a “safe zone” there.
“Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation” by broadening into Northern Syria in October to fight against the Kurdish military allied with America in the fight against the ISS, Mr. Esper told a press conference in Brussels before the NATO Defence Minister’s meeting.
Mark Esper has said, “I think the incursion’s unwarranted.”
The burden was on Turkey’s NATO allies to now “work together to strengthen our partnership with them, and get them on the trend back to being the strong reliable ally of the past,” he stated.
The issue related to Turkish military attacks in Syria is developed to dominate the two-day NATO meeting, with diplomats in the organization has stated “frank” discussions with the representatives from Ankara have already taken place.
The following arrangement with Russia to clear Kurdish military forces that Turkey considered as “terrorists” linked to the forbidden PKK Group on its soil has further raised troubles.
Turkish strategic position between the Middle East and Europe is seen as too significant to jeopardize, so that other alliances have limited themselves only to criticism.
Mr. Esper has defended the decision of President Donald Trump to pull the US troops out of Northern Syria, strongly opening the way for the Turkish offensive.
He continued, “The US decision to withdraw less than 50 soldiers from the zone of attack was made after it was made very clear to us that President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan made the decision to come across the border.”
Mr. Esper further stated that “I was not about to put less than 50 US soldiers in between a 15,000-man-plus Turkish army preceded by Turkish militia and jeopardize the lives of those servicemen,” adding that nor was he “about to start a fight with a NATO ally.”
Mark Esper has acknowledged that “there has been some criticism” about the decision of Washington to withdraw the US troops “but nobody’s yet offered a better alternative to what the United States did. We are trying to keep a very strategic perspective.”
In his speech and interrogation session at the function hosted by the German Marshall Fund think tank, the US Defense Secretary has highlighted threats he considered were posed by Russia, Iran, and mainly by Russia.
Mr. Esper said, “NATO allies should be looking east,” to China, claiming that the “heavy hand” of Beijing was being considered militarily, politically, and economically not only in Asia but more abroad, including into Europe with its “belt-and-road” project.
Adopted by the NATO allies of Chinese Huawei to develop 5G telecommunication networks would be a threat to intel-sharing within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, added Mark Esper.
“I’ll counsel our allies – if Huawei becomes your provider of choice, this will affect our ability to share intelligence. We can’t trust those networks,” said Mr. Esper, adding that “we need to address those threats with eyes wide open.”