NATO has urged Turkish authorities to respect the rule of law while prosecuting suspects who participated in the coup attempt last summer, joining a chorus of Western institutions to denounce Ankara’s overreaching crackdown on critics.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that he attaches great importance to values regarding the rule of law and pressed Turkey to conduct prosecutions based on the “full respect to the rule of law.” He added that they discussed this issue with the Turkish government.
Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks came on a day when Turkey issued arrest warrants for nearly 5,000 individuals, including thousands of police officers, and purged at least 9,000 police. The latest arrests and the suspension of police officers added to the staggering number of those who were put behind bars or dismissed since the failed coup last summer.
NATO Secretary General, who is also former Norwegian prime minister, said Turkey is a key ally for many reasons, especially for its strategic geographic location. He noted that Turkey has suffered many terrorist attacks and no other ally has suffered so many terrorist attacks as Turkey as well as a failed coup attempt last summer.
Mr. Stoltenberg said he is looking forward to meeting all the NATO leaders when they gather in Brussels in May including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
“So they will all meet and we can discuss all common challenges,” he concluded.
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