The US ambassador in Ankara on Friday marked the 70th anniversary of Turkiye’s accession to the NATO military alliance by hailing its contributions.

“Throughout its 70 years as a NATO partner and ally, Turkiye’s significant contributions to NATO’s collective security have been a key element of our bilateral relationship,” Jeff Flake said in a video message posted by the US Embassy in Turkiye on Twitter.

Flake described Turkiye as a “critical ally” and said: “Over the past few years, Turkiye’s contributions to NATO have been more important than ever.”

“At a time of unprecedented security challenges, it is clear Turkiye takes seriously its mission to prioritize readiness of NATO forces and uphold the NATO pillars of deterrence and defense,” he added.

“We look forward to maintaining and strengthening our partnership with Turkiye through the alliance and to increasing our collective defense capabilities to meet current and future challenges.”

He said Turkiye’s “continued contributions to NATO truly ensures that we are stronger together.”

Underlining that Turkiye’s leadership continues to embody NATO’s core principles, Flake said Turkiye has the second largest army in the alliance, and is its third largest contributor to key operations around the world.

Turkiye, which joined NATO in 1952, also maintains the second largest F-16 jet fighter fleet in NATO, he said, adding that since 2012, the country has hosted the Allied Land Command Headquarters, which is responsible for coordinating and synchronizing NATO and partner land forces.

Turkiye also protects NATO’s southern flank and hosts NATO forces at the Incirlik airbase, the envoy said.

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance formed in 1949 with 12 members. It is now comprised of 27 European countries, two North American countries, and one Eurasian country.

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