Turkey determined to block NATO defence plans over Syria dispute - Reuters

Turkey will resist efforts by its NATO allies to persuade it to back a defence plan for the Baltics and Poland until the alliance recognises the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a Turkish diplomatic source. 

The Turkish source told Reuters that NATO had agreed this year to back the alliance plan for defence of Turkey, including in the event of an attack from the south, where it borders Syria. But Washington later withdrew its support and other countries then opposed it too, the source said.

“So, we are saying that if ours (defence plan) isn’t published, we won’t allow the other (plan for the Baltics and Poland to be published) either,” Reuters quoted the source as saying. “Those who want us to publish the plan for the Baltics must then show the same awareness for ours as well.”

A week before a NATO summit in London, alliance envoys are seeking formal approval by all 29 members for the military plan to defend Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the event of a Russian attack, Reuters said. 

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Turkey had refused to agree to a NATO defence plan for the Baltics and Poland over lack of political support for its fight against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Turkey’s Yeni Şafak daily on Wednesday confirmed the report citing unidentified Turkish sources.

Ankara sees the YPG as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been fighting inside Turkey’s southeast for Kurdish autonomy for more than three decades. The YPG makes up the main bulk of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Turkey has repeatedly accused its NATO allies, particularly the United States, of ignoring an ally’s security concerns by providing support to the YPG. Turkey launched a military operation against the Kurdish group in northern Syria last month and plans to establish a safe zone in Syrian territories near its border.