Jens Stoltenberg, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on 11 October 2019, in the White Palace in Ankara.

Germany, France, Italy and certain other countries, who as members of the EU condemn Turkey for its attack in Syria, are co-members of NATO, which, while the attack had already begun, declared its support of Ankara. The General Secretary of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, made this support official during a meeting on 11 October in Turkey with President Erdoğan and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Çavuşoğlu [1].

« Turkey is on the front line in this extremely volatile region – no other Ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, no other country is more exposed to the violence and turbulence coming from the Middle East », said Stoltenberg, acknowledging that Turkey has « legitimate preoccupations for its own security ». After having suggested – diplomatically - « action in moderation », Stoltenberg claimed that Turkey is a « powerful NATO ally, important for our collective defence », and that the Alliance is « strongly engaged in the defence of its security ». For this purpose, NATO has increased its aerial and naval presence in Turkey, and has invested more than 5 billion dollars in bases and military infrastructures. Apart from this, it has deployed an important command centre (not mentioned by Stoltenberg) – LandCom - responsible for the coordination of all Allied ground forces.

Stoltenberg stressed the importance of « missile defence systems » deployed by NATO in order to « protect the Southern frontier of Turkey », to be supplied in rotation by the Allies. On this subject, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Çavuşoğlu extended special thanks to Italy. Indeed, since 2016, Italy has deployed in the South-Eastern province of Turkey, Kahramanmaras, the « aerial defence system » Samp-T, co-produced with France.

A Samp-T unit consists of a command and control vehicle and six weapon-delivery vehicles each armed with eight missiles. Stationed in the border region close to Syria, they are able to shoot down any aircraft within Syrian air space. Their function, therefore, is anything but defensive. In last July, the Italian Chamber and Senate, on the basis of decisions taken by the joint commissions of Foreign Affairs, discussed the extension of the presence of Italian missiles in Turkey until 31 December. Besides this, Stoltenberg revealed that meetings are currently being held between Italy and France, co-producers of the Samp-T missile system, which Turkey hopes to buy. So, on the basis of a decree announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Di Maio to block the exportation of weapons to Turkey, Italy must immediately remove the Samp-T missile system from Turkish territory and agree not to sell it to Turkey.

So this tragic little piece of political theatre continues, and Syrian blood continues to flow. Those people who today claim to be horrified at the new massacres, and call for a blockage of the exportation of weapons to Turkey, are the same people who looked the other way when the New York Times itself published a detailed enquiry about the CIA networks [2] which facilitate the arrival in Turkey, and also Croatia, of floods of weapons for the secret war in Syria [3]. After having destroyed the Yugoslav Federation and Libya, NATO tried the same tactic in Syria. The attack force was composed of an armed horde of Islamist groups (defined only a short time ago as ’terrorists’ by Washington) from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Libya and other countries. They gathered in the Turkish provinces of Adana and Hatay, border regions with Syria, where the CIA has opened centres for military training. The command centre for these operations was situated on board of NATO ships in the port of Iskenderun (Alexandretta).

All this information has been erased, and Turkey is presented by the General Secretary of NATO as the Ally « the most exposed to the violence and turbulence coming from the Middle East ».

Roger Lagassé
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[1Jean Stoltenberg on Turkey”, by Jens Stoltenberg, Voltaire Network, 11 October 2019.

[2« Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A. », par C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, March 14, 2013.

[3The CIA Air Lift to Arm the “Rebels””, by Manlio Dinucci, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Il Manifesto (Italy) , Voltaire Network, 29 March 2013.