Turkey went to NATO’s 70th anniversary summit in London with a big delegation and after tight preparations, as all pro-government quarters turned pro-NATO this week and the whole Turkish media focused on the two-day event that ended Dec. 4. It is perhaps fair to say that never since the coup attempt in July 2016 has Turkey witnessed such a positive sentiment toward NATO, especially in the pro-government media.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had looked forward to the summit, to which he went with a thick file, seeking to win support for Turkey in the row over its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, its ongoing military campaign in northeast Syria and a related plan to resettle Syrian refugees in a safe zone in the region. Another major objective was to get NATO to recognize the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a terrorist group. The YPG is the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, which NATO already sees as a terrorist organization. Mounting tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s efforts to secure the extradition of Gulenists from NATO countries were other important items in Erdogan’s dossier.