The NATO secretary general on Thursday called on Europe to reach an agreement with Turkey, admitting that there are many disagreements over Syria, but recalling that Ankara was important in the fight against the extremist Islamic State group.
"There are differences and disagreements on how to deal with the situation in Syria," acknowledged Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with the French news agency AFP, stressing, however, that Turkey is "an important ally of the Atlantic Alliance".
Turkey played an important role in the fight against ISIS (the acronym for the extremist group called Islamic State), ”said the NATO official, who attended a meeting of European Union defense ministers taking place in Zagreb.
"We need to find solutions together", he stressed.
The malaise between Turkey and the West began with the offensive launched by the Turkish army in northeastern Syria without any consultation with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, sometimes called the Atlantic Alliance).
At the end of last month, relations deteriorated further following the decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open its borders to the passage of migrants and refugees to Europe, and in particular to Greece, as a way of force European countries to “support Turkish political and humanitarian solutions in Syria”.
The head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves le Drian, denounced Turkey's “ambiguities”. "A great explanation is needed within the Alliance," he said, wishing it was public.
Jean-Yves Le Drian intends to claim this during the meeting of NATO foreign ministers on April 2 and 3 in Brussels.
Foreign ministers from the 21 countries of the European Union who are members of NATO will meet on 2 and 3 April in Brussels, this being a leading theme of the talks.
On Wednesday, France defended that NATO should have a "frank conversation" with Turkey to know the position of this ally, at a time when Ankara has given mixed signals, namely in the relationship with Russia.
“We are in the same alliance (…). I think that we will quickly need to have a big, heavy, frank, public conversation with Turkey to find out which side is on which side the other is on and where our common interests are and say everything. Otherwise, we will not get out of this ”, admitted the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in an intervention in the Senate (upper chamber of parliament).