Turkey holds up NATO military plans over Syria dispute

According to an exclusive report by Reuters, turkey is practically blackmailing NATO, holding it hostage, in order to pursue its own agenda.

Turkey is refusing to back a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until the alliance offers Ankara more political support for its fight against Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria, four senior alliance sources said.

Ankara has told its NATO envoy not to sign off on the plan and is taking a tough line in meetings and in private conversations, demanding the alliance recognize the YPG as terrorists in the formal wording, the sources said.

Turkey’s NATO delegation was not immediately available for comment. Turkey’s defense and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

The dispute, before NATO holds its 70th anniversary summit in London next week, is a sign of divisions between Ankara and Washington over Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria against the YPG militia, which it regards as terrorists with links to Kurdish militants on Turkish soil.

NATO envoys are seeking formal approval by all 29 member states for the military plan to defend Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the event of a Russian attack.

Without Turkey’s approval, it could be harder for NATO to step up its defenses in the Baltics and Poland quickly.