Turkey "has legitimate security concerns" as it has suffered the most terrorist attacks compared to other NATO allies, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said on February 13, speaking at a press conference in Brussels ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference yesterday as a forerunner of the meeting mentioning the issues to be adressed.
Stoltenberg's remarks came ahead of a two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers meeting starting today at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters to prepare for a summit in July.
In 2014, only 3 Allies spent 2% of GDP or more on defense. "This year we expect eight allies to meet the target", he added. "It's not an alternative and it's not going to compete with NATO and, therefore, I welcomed the efforts to strengthen European defense and the EU efforts because I think that can strengthen NATO; it can strengthen Europe and the European Union, and by providing stronger European defense we can strengthen the European pillar within NATO and this has been clearly stated again and again also from European leaders". The increase in the last four years has added $19 billion to spending on weapons and equipment for the alliance, he said. "This should lead to significant improvements to our forces and their readiness".More news: After a Twitter Storm, The Times and a New Hire Part Ways
The US, however, is concerned the bidding process might exclude US firms.
"We want the Europeans to have capabilities and strength but not to fence off American products or Norwegian products or potentially United Kingdom products".
Washington and Ankara, two of the transatlantic alliance's most important members, are at loggerheads over Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria, which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday warned was detracting from the fight against the Islamic State group.More news: UK's first budget flight to South America leaves Gatwick
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Katie Wheelbarger, said that the cooperation was welcome "as long as it's complementary to, and not distracting from, NATO's activities and requirements". And a support command for military mobility within Europe. "But we just want to make sure that there has to be full transparency, so it's implemented right, so, therefore, future initiatives will be based on a positive example".
Stoltenberg, who will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at a security conference in Germany later this week, declined to go into troop numbers for Iraq, but said training could include at the defence ministry and on bomb disposal.More news: Microsoft might not fix Skype vulnerability in the immediate future