Marking the 60th anniversary of Turkey’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, the Secretary General stressed the country's vital role. “Turkey plays an important role in our operations and we are particularly grateful for your steadfast commitment to our ISAF operation. Turkey has an important voice in our decisions. And Turkey has a vital part to play in shaping our partnerships”, he said.
The Secretary General highlighted Turkey’s crucial leadership role as the Arab Spring unfolds.“Turkey does more than just share our security: you shape it. Your experience and your expertise in the Middle East and North Africa are invaluable. They benefit the whole of NATO”, the Secretary General said. Mr Rasmussen discussed with his counterparts preparations for the NATO summit that will be held in May in Chicago. “We will have to set out how we will help the Afghan forces take responsibility for security in their own country – and how we will support them once they have done so”, he said. The Secretary General stated that he expected NATO's missile defence system, in which Turkey has agreed to host a key facility, to achieve interim capability at Chicago. He added that NATO "will have to enhance our partnerships around the world. And we will have to find a smarter way of doing business in these tough economic times – spending better, when our spending is restricted”.
The Secretary General also participated in a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. “NATO is a family of like-minded countries, a family where we make each other stronger, and Turkey is a valued member of the family”, he said.
The Secretary General also took part in a conference entitled "60 Years Together For Peace and Security" organised by the Atlantic Council of Turkey.