Minister of Defence Jüri Luik met yesterday, in Ankara, with Turkish Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar, and Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Binali Yıldırım to discuss the security situation on the Black Sea and in countries in the region. The two ministers also touched upon issues of defence cooperation, Turkey’s relations with NATO, European Union, United States and Russia.
‘Russian activity within the Kerch Strait has led to a significant deterioration of the security situation in the region and it is important that the West stays vigilant on what is going on,’ Luik said, according to whom Russia has clearly set the goal of increasing tension and creating a situation which may lead to an escalation. ‘As a member of NATO, Turkey has an important role to play in ensuring stability, and it also has a unique situational awareness on the Black Sea,' Luik added.
At the meetings with the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Yıldırım, and İsmet Yılmaz, Chairman of the National Defence Committee as well as committee members, it was noted that with the recent steps Russia has strained the situation in the region and Turkey's goal in the current situation is, above all, to de-escalate the relationship between Ukraine and Russia to avoid a large scale confrontation.
Turkey itself is in a position in which the situation in several neighbouring countries is having a significant impact on national security. The consequences of the Syrian conflict has brought more than 3 million refugees to Turkey, who are having an impact on Turkey as well as all of Europe.
Yesterday, Minister of Defence Luik laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Within the framework of the visit, Luik also met with the Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Defence Forces, General Yasar Güler, and visited a special force's base near Ankara, where he received an overview of the role played by Turkish Special Forces in NATO-led operations and exercises.
Estonia and Turkey share close defence cooperation, with more than 100 servicemember having trained in Turkey, a Turkish officer has studied at the Baltic Defence College, in Tartu. A Turkish officer is also serving at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, in Tallinn.