ANKARA – Turkey remains a member of NATO and it is impossible to be excluded as alliance decisions are made by consensus, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with channel TGRT television that “alliance decisions are taken by consensus and even if one country objects, the decision will be taken,” so “it is impossible to exclude Turkey from NATO.”
“So talking about a ‘change of emphasis’ is political manipulation. We have been NATO members for over 50 years and we continue to be. But in the meantime, we don’t belong to anyone. Turkey is open to everyone. Where are its interests, that’s where we go, and no one can stop it,” said Cavusoglu.
In addition, the Turkish minister said that “although Turkey wants to join the EU, it will not wait at your door forever.” The Turks joined NATO in 1952 and have been candidates to join the European Union since 1999.
Tensions between Turkey and USA
However, the purchase of the all-new Russian S-400 air defense systems sparked an international dispute between Turkey and the US, which demanded that the Turks abandon the Russian systems purchase agreement, even offering their Patriot missile systems in return.
Contrary to what Cavusoglu said, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was prepared to leave NATO during a meeting with Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
“I met twice with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and he personally told me that Turkey was willing to withdraw from NATO,” Zhirinovsky wrote.
“Turkey was one of the first countries to be received in NATO because its territory was suitable for action against Russia,” said Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR).
The Turks joined NATO in 1952 and have been candidates for membership of the European Union since 1999, but are making little advances in joining, for a variety of reasons, including their occupation of Northern Cyprus.