1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Politics
  4. Military

NATO vows solidarity with Turkey over Islamic State

NATO vows solidarity with Turkey over Islamic State NATO vows solidarity with Turkey over Islamic State

NATO strongly backed Turkey's fight against Islamic State militants in Syria at emergency talks Tuesday but some countries expressed concerns that strikes on Kurdish fighters could torpedo peace talks with the rebels, AFP reports.

The rare meeting held at Turkey's request came as an uncompromising President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he could not continue negotiations with the Kurds amid attacks on Turkish targets.

Turkish jets later hit Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey after the group fired on security forces, the army said, stepping up a campaign that Ankara has launched in parallel with its strikes on IS, despite the Kurds' bitter opposition to the jihadists.

"All allies expressed their strong support for Turkey and we all stand together in solidarity with Turkey. We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said after the meeting of the alliance's ambassadors in Brussels.

Stoltenberg said Turkey had not asked for military help -- the alliance's only Muslim member has the second largest armed forces in NATO after the United States -- and he welcomed its increased effort against IS.

Turkey's parliament is due to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss security threats.

  Suruc suicide bombing 

Ankara requested Tuesday's meeting of all 28 North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations after a devastating suicide bombing blamed on IS militants in the largely Kurdish border town of Suruc last week in which 32 people were killed.

The Kurds, however, suspect the Turkish government of colluding with IS -- a charge Ankara categorically denies -- and in the aftermath of the attack the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) claimed several deadly strikes against police.

Once-reluctant Ankara then launched attacks against IS targets in Syria and Kurdish positions in northern Iraq, despite the fact that Kurdish forces have won some of the biggest military successes against the jihadists.

Turkey also agreed with the United States to create an "IS-free zone" in northern Syria and dropped its previous refusal to let US aircraft use its Incirlik airbase to launch attacks on the jihadists.

Erdogan -- whose relations with his Western allies have been bedevilled by human rights concerns -- insisted Ankara would press its attacks to the full and said he considered peace talks with the PKK dead in the water.

"It is not possible to carry on the (peace) process with those who target our national unity and brotherhood," Erdogan told reporters before leaving on a visit to China.

"Any step back is out of the question."

Erdogan added that a safe zone would help the return of 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The violence continued on Tuesday, with a Turkish army sergeant shot dead by a Kurdish militant near the Iraqi border, the army said.

Two Turkish F-16 jets later made "direct hits" on PKK targets in a mountainous region bordering Iraq, the army said.

The air strikes are believed to the first on Kurdish militants inside Turkey since a 2011 botched raid by F-16 jets that killed 34 civilians, mainly cigarette smugglers.

  Sudden change of course 

Ankara, which along with its Western allies officially considers the PKK a terrorist organisation, launched peace negotiations with the group's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012 and agreed a truce.

The sudden change of course in recent days has raised questions in Western capitals over whether Ankara, fearful of seeing a Kurdish state emerge on its southern border, is more interested in limiting Kurdish capabilities than in tackling IS.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday she had told her Turkish counterpart that Berlin backed Ankara in the fight against IS but had "concerns over the intervention against the PKK".

"I said forcefully that in any peace process there had to be restraint, and that the peace process with the Kurds in Turkey should not be disturbed nor abandoned," von der Leyen said during a trip to Mali.

The Netherlands ambassador to NATO, Marjanne de Kwaasteniet, said "reconciliation should continue" between Turkey and the PKK.

The European Commission said its president Jean-Claude Juncker meanwhile called Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the weekend to back "robust action against IS", but "stressed the need for proportionality in all actions against the PKK".

Around 30 Kurdish representatives rallied outside the European Parliament in Brussels as the NATO talks were taking place.

"Turkey is not waging war against IS but against the Kurdish people," said Zubeyir Aydar of the Kurdish National Congress.

Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights