Turkey has announced that it might leave North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] within five to six months, citing the provocative actions against Ankara by the United States and its European allies—mainly Sweden. Turkey's deputy leader of the Patriotic Party (Vatan Partisi) Ethem Sancak made the wide-ranging announcement speaking to the reporters in Ankara, asserting that Turkey will exit the Western military Alliance over the friction with the Alliance and its non-compliant attitude towards Turkey's demands and interests. He also slammed the recent episode of the Quran burning in Sweden. Notably, Ankara abruptly cancelled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's upcoming visit to Turkey.
"The developments prompt us to take such steps. NATO is making us do so with its provocations. They have been seeking to contrast us to our neighbor Turkey. Turkey will leave NATO in five to six months," Ethem Sancak said.
"They [NATO] have been trying to get us caught in the Middle East crossfire. Finally, you can see campaigns against the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands," Ankara's Aydinlik newspaper quoted him as saying.
80% of the Turkish population is against Turkey being in the military alliance led by the United States, the Turkish Minister claimed. "The United States is a country running the most hostile and destructive policy towards Ankara," he stated.
"The Turkish people have lately been showing sympathy for Russia and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," Turkey's minister Ethem Sancak iterated, using a friendly tone for its ally Russia. This week, Turkey’s Patriotic Party also launched a nationwide campaign for Turkey to exit the North Atlantic Alliance. It also urged the government to shut all the military bases hosting US troops on Turkish territory.
Moreover, Turkish leaders slammed the United States and NATO over the stalled F-16 fighter planes deal, urging that Ankara must withdraw from the Alliance. Ankara has been planning to upgrade its existing F-16 fleet with 40 new Lockheed Martin-made Viper class F-16 fighter jets and 80 modernization kits. But the US Congress had been wary of Turkey's hostile rhetoric against its ally Athens and created hurdles to the sales with a clause that would restrict their use. Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in an earlier interview with private broadcaster Haber Global TV, also condemned the US Congressional hurdles, saying that Ankara “would not agree to buy a product in a way that could tie our hands.”
“Why should we buy a product that we can’t use?” Cavusoglu hit back at the dissenting US lawmakers. Erdogan, in turn, denounced the deal opposing lawmakers saying that Biden “must not fall for the ‘games’ being played."