ISTANBUL 

The Turkish president on Sunday stressed the importance of alliance ahead of Monday’s NATO summit.

“We will participate in an important summit where decisions will be taken regarding the NATO 2030 process, which will determine the alliance’s roadmap for the next ten years,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before his departure for Brussels.

“Turkey will once again underline the importance of alliance with its allies,” Erdogan said, adding Turkey does not only protect its borders but also NATO’s borders.

Erdogan said a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties, will be discussed during his meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

He said although Turkey fulfills its promises regarding the purchase of F-35 jets, the US failed to do it.

In 2019, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

The US claimed that the Russian S-400 would compromise security on the F-35s, but Turkey said these fears were baseless, and has repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.

On Afghanistan, Erdogan said Turkey is the “only country that can be trusted to continue the process” after the US’ withdrawal from the country.

Terror attack in Afrin

Condemning the terror attack on a hospital in Afrin, northern Syria, the Turkish president said the attack shows the treacherous and barbaric character of the YPG/PKK terror group.

The YPG/PKK’s Saturday attack on a hospital in northwestern Syria killed at least 13 civilian patients and injured more than 27, said officials in southern Turkey.

Leaders of NATO countries at Monday’s summit will discuss the path that the military alliance will follow over the next decade against challenges such as China, Russia, and cyber threats.

The leaders will gather Monday at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the first time since 2018.

Erdogan will meet with the US president – their first meeting since Biden took office – as well as with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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