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Turquie : Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for greater NATO presence in Black Sea

The USS Donald Cook flown over in the Black Sea by a Russian Sukhoi-24 (Su-24) fighter jet, April 12, 2014

NATO is not deploying enough assets to the Black Sea and cannot counter the Russian military presence there, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has argued. He said he would ask the alliance to address the issue during an upcoming summit in Warsaw.


Turkey, previously a strong trade partner of Russia, has become a bitter foe after downing a Russian bomber near the Syrian border back in November 2015. The Turkish president said the downing of the plane –which resulted in the death of one of its pilots, who was killed by a Turkey-supported rebel group– was a proper response to a seconds-long violation of Turkish airspace. Moscow denied that such a violation happened and accused Ankara of stabbing Russia in the back. Turkey’s immediate move after the incident was to call an emergency NATO meeting.

“I told him [NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg]  : ‘You are absent from the Black Sea. The Black Sea has almost become a Russian lake", Erdogan said at a meeting of heads of general staff of Balkan nations in Istanbul on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. “If we don’t take action, history will not forgive us”. He added that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia should join the alliance soon to make it stronger. "We should enhance our coordination and cooperation in the Black Sea. We hope for concrete results from the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8 and 9… The Black Sea should be turned into the sea of stability”, Erdogan said, as quoted by Sputnik.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A NATO summit will be held in the Polish capital in July 2016. The meeting is expected to strengthen the alliance’s stance on countering what its new top military commander, US General Curtis Scaparrotti, called a resurgent Russia in his inauguration ceremony last week. Moscow sees NATO’s military buildup near its border as offensive and threatening.

Curtis Scaparrotti

Military access to the Black Sea is limited for nations not bordering it, as Russia does. The US regularly sends its warships into the Black Sea for rotations. The tension between Russia and the US over the strategic body of water was highlighted last year when Russian warplanes passed by the USS Ross, an American guided-missile destroyer. The Pentagon accused the Russian military of acting aggressively, while Moscow said the warship was approaching Russian territorial waters, which prompted the response.

USS Ross in the Black Sea in May 2015

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éditeur : Frank Brunner | ouverture : 11 novembre 2000 | reproduction autorisée en citant la source