NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended a plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul on Monday, 21 November 2016 where he delivered a speech, which you may read below.
- Shame on him: he did not mention the violations of democratic and human rights by the Turkish government by arresting members of the parliament, journalists and all opposition leaders.
- He even praised the reaction of the Turkish government.
- His style: appeasement, like in Munich 1938. The dictator takes it all. It stimulates his appetite to crush democracy.
- It shows to the world: democratic values do not matter for him. These are words without substance.
- But NATO is committed to democracies in its member states first.
- Mr. Stoltenberg likes to talk about it ………………………….in Ukraine.
- Mr NATO lost his credibility: you cannot demand from Moscow what you do not get from NATO-ally Turkey.
- The Secretary General even violated the status of NATO as it is based on democracy, which he must defend in his position.
- The is not Realpolitik but a severe mistake, weakening democracy in Turkey and thus stability in NATO.
The NATO conference was chaired by the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Michael Turner.
In the margins of the conference, Mr. Stoltenberg met with Turkish President, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Minister of Defence, Mr. Fikri Işık.
Here is his speech:
Mr. President, dear delegates,
First of all I would like to say that it is really an honour to be back here to today and to meet with you, this time in this beautiful city of Istanbul. Last time I think we met in Norway, in Stavanger.
And I will speak to you about the challenges and the tasks that NATO is facing and how NATO is responding.
But before I do that I would like to thank the Turkish Parliament for hosting us and I would also like to thank the president, Mike Turner for the excellent way he has chaired this assembly and the cooperation I have had with him. And we have met many different times on many different occasions but I remember very well when Mike attended the NATO summit in Warsaw, he spoke to the leaders, and when you did that I actually thought about the importance of having you representing the parliaments around the table with the Heads of State and Government in Warsaw.
And I look forward to working with the new president and I promise that I will continue to be in close contact with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
For many reasons but not least because this Assembly is a very important political body because the NATo Assembly is truly a transatlantic institution binding NATO together across the Atlantic with representatives from the European NATO Allies, from Canada and the USA and Partner Nations. And the bonds, the partnerships, the friendship you create in this Assembly is important for the wole Alliance because it strengthens the transatlantic bond.
Secondly, this Assembly is important because you are representing the national parliaments. And I bleive, I’ve said this before, but I wil repeat it because it is so important, I have been a parliamentarian myself and I know the importance of parliaments in decision making in the different NATO Allied countries. Because Parliaments decide on the guidelines, the framework for defence and security policies. No government can conduct in the long run a policy which is against the will of the parliaments, so therefore what you decide, what you agree is of great importance for what NATO can do and what NATO Allies are able to agree on. You are key for key decisions for NATO, like for instance defence spending and that has been my main focus since I became Secretary General in 2014, is how we an increase defence spending among those NATO Allies which are spending less than 2%. And that is actually your main responisibility, to decide budgets and therefore I know that to speak to you is of great importance to me because you are the representatives representing those parliaments which are at the end deciding defence spending in the different NATO Allied countries.
You are also key for another reason and that is because parliaments actually decide who is going to be member of NATO. And you know that we are now in the process of inviting, of enlarging NATO with a new member, Montenegro.
The Accession treaty is signed, what remains to be done is the ratification. And many nations have already ratified the Accession agreement for Montenegro, it has to be done in all 28 Parliaments, so I urge those Parliametns, I urge those countries who have not yet ratified the Accession agreement for Montenegro to do so. This is a responsibility for you, Parliaments, and I speak directly to you: go back to your Parliaments, make sure that you ratify that Accession agreemtent as soon as possible. We wil have a Summit of NATO next yeart and I really think it is something we should be able to deliver by the Summit next year, that we have the Accession agreement ratified by all Parliaments so we can welcome Montenegro as a full member by the Summit in 2017 and that may happen early 2017 so yo have to hurry up and ratify the Accession agreement.
So as you understand I attach great importance to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly because you represent Parlaiments which are so important for our Alliance.
There is yet another reason why I believe this Assemby is of great importance, and that is just the plain fact that you represent different parties, different nations, different political opinions so that NNTO Parliamentary Assembly is a platform for political discussion, for political exchange between different people, different opinions and I think this magnitude, this variety of opinions are important in itself because it reflects the importance NATO fact that NATO is an Alliance of 28 democracies. There are disagreements, there are different views, there are different positions on many issues. But the strength of NATO is that we have always been able to agree on the core task, on uor core responsibility, and to stand together on the message that we are here together to protect each other, to defend each other and to stand together in the strongest Alliance of the world.
And that is also actually what we managed to to in Warsaw. At the Summit we made important decisions on collective defence, on projecting stability and on working together with the EU to strengthen our cooperation with the EU. And I will address briefly these issues and then I’m more than happy to take questions on all the other issues and also elaborate more on collective defence, projecting stability and NATO during the Q&A session.
But before I do that I would just also remind us all of the fact that we are meeting here in Turkey four short months after the failed coup attempt. This should be a sober reminder to us all, a reminder that democracy and freedom cannot be taken for granted. They must be vigorously defenede. In September, I visited the Grand National Assembly in Ankara. Which had been shelled by tanks and bombed by F-16s.
I saw the damage that was done. And I met Members of the Parliament. From all major political parties. They rushed to the Parliament on the night of the coup attempt. And stood together in defence of their democratic institutions. It made a lasting impression on me. And I want to salute them today for their courage and dedication to democracy.
Democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law are NATO’s core values. And I personally attach great importance to them. As you do– Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
The NPA is a platform for democratic debate and open exchange of different views among parliamentarians from all our member states and Partner Countries. And given that we all represent different nations and different political parties we againand again have proven that we are able to stand together in the Alliance on the main message of collective defence and the will to defend eachother. And that is exactly what we did in Warsaw and we decided to strengthen our collective in response to Russia aggressive actions in Ukraine and ongoing military build-up of Russia, NATO has taken prudent and necessary steps. We are increasing our defensive presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Including the deployment of four multinational battalions to the Baltic States and Poland.
Earlier this year, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States each committed to lead one of those battalions.
And I want to thank those nations for their leadership.
I also want to express my appreciation to the 13 other Allies that have pledged to join these forces. Our preparations for the four battalions are on track. We expect to deploy all four multinational battalions in early 2017.
This sends a clear message: NATO is united. We stand together as one. And an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack against us all.
NATO is also taking steps to strengthen our presence in the Black Sea region. There will be a Romanian-led multinational brigade. And we are working on additional defensive measures in the air and at sea as well.
Everything NATO does is defensive, proportionate and fully in line with our international commitments.
Before Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, NATO had no plans to send troops to the eastern part of our Alliance.
NATO’s aim is to prevent a conflict, not provoke a conflict.
Moreover, we firmly believe and are firmly committed to a two-track approach to Russia.
Strong defence coupled with meaningful dialogue. When tensions run high, it is even more important to keep channels of communication open. With increasing military activity close to our borders, we must do everything we can to prevent military incidents or accidents. And if they occur, we must keep them from spiraling out of control. That is why we held two meetings of the NATO-Russia Council this year.
The other major theme of the Warsaw Summit was projecting stability. We know that if our neighbours are stable, we are more secure. NATO helps to build that stability in our neighbourhood, through capacity building, training, working with partners, and maritime security.
NATO has been on the front line in the fight against terrorism for many years. Including through our operations and military presence in Afghanistan. Which was launched in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. And as you know, this is the first and the only time NATO has invoked our collective defence clause Article 5.
Our experience in Afghanistan has shown that having strong, highly trained local forces is vital to a country’s security and stability.
Training local forces is one of our best weapons in the fight against terrorism. This year alone, we have trained hundreds of Iraqi officers in Jordan. And we recently decided to extend our training and capacity-building efforts into Iraq. That work will begin early next year. This training is an important contribution to the fight against ISIL. As is our AWACS surveillance aircraft. Now flying from Konya here in Turkey in support of the Counter-ISIL Coalition.
The situation in the Mediterranean remains serious. In response, earlier this month we launched NATO’s new maritime security operation – Sea Guardian. This operation will help protect the safety and the security of one of the world’s busiest bodies of water. NATO ships, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft will perform core activities like surveillance, counter-terrorism and capacity-building of regional navies. And NATO is supporting the EU’s Operation Sophia with information sharing and logistical support.
This cooperation with EU in the Mediterranean is just one example of the benefit of closer cooperation between NATO and the EU.
The two organisations have transformed Europe. Building the foundation for peace, security and prosperity. And I’m pleased to say that NATO-EU cooperation is now closer than it has ever been. This was underscored by the Joint Declaration that I signed with President Tusk and President Juncker in July in Warsaw in July.
There is momentum in the NATO-EU cooperation. And we must take this opportunity to further strengthen and to do more in the field of NATO-EU cooperation.
We are exploring ways to work together.
To counter hybrid threats, enhance cyber security and coordinate exercises.
As you all know, the EU is considering options for strengthening European defence.
And I welcome that initiative. Because it offers a way for European Allies to deliver more capabilities and increased defence spending. Doing so will strengthen Europe, the EU and NATO. It’s important to make sure that those efforts are complementary, transparent and mutually supportive.
And that non-EU Allies are closely involved.
Because they make essential contributions to European security. A stronger Europe will mean a stronger NATO. And it will reinforce the transatlantic bond. A bond that has served the vital security interests of NATO members on both sides of the Atlantic.
With that in mind, I welcome the incoming Administration in Washington. And I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump. The partnership between Europe and the United States has been rock-solid for almost 70 years. A partnership that has always received bi-partisan support in the United States. And better burden-sharing will make the transatlantic bond even stronger.
After years of sliding defence spending, we have seen a shift. At our Wales Summit in 2014, Allies committed to spend 2% of GDP on defence within a decade. That commitment is already bearing fruit. In 2015, we stopped the defence cuts and we saw a spending increase across Europe and Canada. I expect further increase of 3% for European Allies and Canada this year. So we are moving in the right direction but we still have a long way to go.
And defence spending to reach 2% target really matters.
Let me illustrate by the following example: if all European Allies and Canada were to meet the 2% spending target, that would mean an extra 100 billion dollars. 100 billion dollars’ worth of improvements to our capabilities.
That’s roughly the equivalent to the combined defence budgets of the two largest defence spenders in Europe: the United Kingdom and France, every year.
This is where all of you come in. I’m confident that NATO can count on your continued support. Just as we have relied on the support of the NPA over the past six decades.
Since the founding of NATO in 1949, we have helped to secure the peace and provide the foundation for freedom and prosperity. Supported by our citizens and their elected representatives. And dedicated to continued peace and security for our people and for future generations.
Thank you for your support and thank you for your attention and I’m looking forward to work with all of you to strengthen the transatlantic bond and to strengthen NATO. Thank you.