NATO endorses Baltic defense plans after Turkey compromise

NATO approves Baltic defense plans after finding a compromise with Turkey.
NATO approves Baltic defense plans after finding a compromise with Turkey. Photo: FRANCOIS LENOIR/REUTERS

Having found a compromise with Turkey, NATO has endorsed the updated defense plan for Poland and the Baltic states; the situation was resolved through a compromise regarding problems in the Middle East, according to Estonian Minister of Defense Jüri Luik.

“I would like to underline that NATO is fulfilling its core tasks, and for that purpose, valid and practicable defense plans always exist,” Luik told BNS. “To date, the review procedure of the plans, which was decided in principle at the London summit yet was later delayed by political discussions, has been successfully completed.”

Luik noted that said discussions also made headlines in the media ahead of the latest NATO defense ministers’ meeting.

“As a result of a joint effort by all states, a compromise has been reached on an issue which did not concern us directly but instead concerned the situation in the Middle East, and a way towards resolution of the problem has been opened. With all the procedures completed, the issue has now been resolved,” Luik said.

The defense minister said that the review of defense plans is a regular process, which always consists of various stages and the details of which cannot be shared with the public.

“I can say with confidence that the solidarity of the Alliance won in this process and resolutions were found to the problems of all member states,” Luik noted. 

NATO approved the first defense plans for the Baltic states in 2010, but Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania want them regularly updated.

Turkey was the only state to refuse to approve the updated plans until its interests have been taken into account. The most contentious issue was Turkey’s demand that NATO members recognize Kurdish fighters in northern Syria as terrorist groups. 

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during the NATO summit in December that state leaders had backed the updated defense plans for the Baltic states and Poland, but formal procedures should have been completed before they come into force, and Turkey has stalled them, upping its demands.