The Alliance must have a clear vision to meet new security challenges and be committed to supporting its members.
Turkey has been a strong ally of NATO since joining the alliance in 1952. We have always been at the forefront of our common security to meet the challenges we face. Our participation in world-class missions and hosting NATO strategic assets in our area demonstrate our continued strong commitment to the Alliance. Turkey has taken a strong lead in NATO missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.
We consider NATO irreplaceable for the security of our nation and for peace in our region. As we are confident that we will contribute to NATO at the highest level, we are also investing heavily in our national defense as a strategic priority. Our national defense spending is close to the goal of 2% of NATO GDP, more than what most members of the alliance spend. These investments have in recent years enhanced our national defense capabilities and contributed to the overall strength of the NATO alliance.
Against the background of changing regional security dynamics over the past decade, it is time for NATO to update its strategic concept. NATO’s new strategic perspective should be broad enough, given the growing size of the alliance in recent years. However, it must also be clear and purposeful. Due to the growing use of hybrid warfare capabilities, the challenges facing our alliance are more complex than ever. At the same time, preparing NATO for this new century is within our capabilities.
The new concept should create mechanisms for resolving disagreements between various NATO allies on a number of issues. It must also acknowledge the need to align national priorities with the Alliance’s priorities in the light of the rapidly changing regional-global dynamics of recent years, not to mention the COVID-19 epidemic. We have different national policies on issues such as international terrorism, migration, human trafficking, cyberbullying, and so on.
It is clear that we will not look at every problem. However, NATO must be a priority in order to reach a broad understanding of the alliance – a common response. Our alliance must not only focus on identifying common enemies, but must unite around a common goal that serves the national interests of all of us.
Understanding all forms of terrorism, including far-right terrorism and Islamophobic attacks, and agreeing on a strategy to counter it must be a top priority.
We must also develop a more comprehensive security concept that includes human security to prevent humanitarian catastrophes and to counter asymmetric attacks on our nations.
Turkey is ready to pay its fair share to ensure the collective security of our alliance. The distribution of cargo should not be just about military budgets ներդր investments in NATO. It must also address the refugee crisis in our region. As a country hosting more than four million refugees, we expect our allies to take a more constructive approach – willingness to pay their fair share in solving this historic challenge.
In recent years, we have received unnecessary criticism for our national security demands և strategic priorities. We welcome any constructive exchanges on issues relating to our collective security. We believe that dialogue is always possible to resolve differences between member states. As an example of this approach, we have proposed organizing an international conference to resolve disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean.
However, one should not expect Turkey to undermine its national security and sovereignty by meeting the baseless demands of some member states and accepting the flawed perceptions of regional turmoil that Turkey has been facing for a decade.
Faced with the threat of terrorism and regional instability, Turkey is “capable” of resolutely ensuring its national security. However, we must note with regret that the support of our NATO allies on these fronts has been no less exemplary. We note this not to emphasize the already well-publicized contacts, but to emphasize the need for better NATO solidarity if we are to prepare for new, new threats.
The epidemic has taught us that the challenges of the world cannot be solved without strong international cooperation. NATO is a great example of such a mechanism of cooperation, անց its past achievements can not be overestimated. However, just as we committed ourselves decades ago to protect each other through a historic treaty, so in the future we must be prepared to protect each other from common threats.
For a more secure future, our alliance must use the national capabilities of each nation while providing a well-integrated framework for regional-global change. NATO can only become more effective in the coming years by acknowledging the national priorities of its member states and reassuring them of the potential for real support. Turkey has always been ready, it continues to be ready for its share.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al Jazeera.