United States thanks to NATO Ally Turkey for 'generous donation' of coronavirus aid

On his Twitter account, the U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo shared the photo taken while the military cargo plane carrying the medical aid sent by Turkey was landing on Andrew Air Base near the capital, Washington.

“NATO allies must stand together in times of crisis,” said Pompeo in a Twitter message. “We thank Turkey for their generous donation of medical supplies and protective equipment to help us fight COVID-19 in our hardest-hit areas. Americans are grateful for your friendship, partnership, and support.”

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policies Michael Ryan said, “We are grateful to Turkey for the aid they have provided the USA with and the leadership model they have presented in NATO in the fight against COVID-19.”

Stating that Turkish and American officials coordinated the aid for a week, Ryan said, “Turkey’s aid to the USA, like its aids to Italy, Spain, England, and the Balkans, has been made with the coordination of NATO.”

The Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca had a phone call with U.S. Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kılıç, met the shipment and delivered President Erdoğan’s letter to Trump to U.S. officials during the transportation of the aid package at the U.S. Joint Andrews Base.

It was announced that Turkey’s aid package included 500,000 masks, 400,000 gowns, 2,000 liters of disinfectant, 500 face shields, 400 N95-type masks, and 1,500 protective glasses.

In addition, The second military cargo plane from Turkey arrived in the USA on Friday, May 1, completing the entire delivery.

President Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines until April 30

President Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines until April 30

President Donald Trump organized a press conference at the White House where he announced, “The next two weeks are critical. Everybody should do their part and pay attention to social distance. This nightmare will come to an end one day. We decided to extend the precautions related to COVID-19 until April 30.”

“Today, we reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus. Over one million Americans have been tested — more than any other country by far. [They are] not even close.”

Stating that his administration made serious progress on the coronavirus epidemic and they expected the death rate of the pandemic to reach its peak in 2 weeks, President Trump added that it is his expectation that the recovery process will have begun by June 1.

Over 2 Million People in the U.S. Could Die if Coronavirus Goes Unchecked

President Trump said, “It was expected that 2.2 million people could die if we hadn’t done anything, but if we come out of this with 100 to 200 thousand deaths, which is considerably less than that, then that will mean that we have done very well,” claiming that the government had carried out more tests than all of the other countries in the world and that that was the reason why the number of cases is so high.

Masks Question

Regarding the concerns about “the lack of medical equipment” in New York hospitals, Trump stated,

“How do these hospitals’ need for masks go from [10,000]–20,000 to 300,000 masks per week? There is something going on in New York hospitals. You should look into this situation as journalists. Where are these masks going? Are they going to elsewhere through the back door?”

Upon being reminded that he had earlier stated, “I want to restore the country to its previous state until Easter on April 12,” President Trump said, “I just said this as an aspiration.” Trump, who said that “there is nothing worse than declaring victory before winning it,” stated,

“The American youth is affected more than the European youth.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House’s coronavirus task force, stated in a speech that they hope that projections that show the virus killing between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the U.S. are false and added, “Unfortunately, American youth is affected more than European youth. That’s the reason why every model may not be very correct.”

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the U.S. could see millions of coronavirus cases and 100,000 or more deaths.

Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin highlighted that the $2.2 trillion package would support the economy and employees for ten weeks, and if additional time is required, the government will evaluate what may be needed.

The disease caused by the new coronavirus has killed at least 2,945 people in the United States as of March 30.

  • Published in Health

President Trump: “The worst could be behind us around July or August.”

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke at the daily press conference of the Coronavirus Task Force, which has been created to combat the coronavirus. On a question posed as to when the worst would be behind us in the coronavirus crisis, Trump said, “There are those who say July or August, or even later.”

President Trump said, “My son has been asking how bad it is... It’s bad.” and He warned people against getting together in groups of 10 or more.

“Here, I meant that the steps taken by my administration against the virus are under control, not that the virus itself is under control,” said President Trump. “The virus isn't under control anywhere in the world right now.”

Trump, who also stated that the first trial of the vaccine against COVID-19 was being carried out today, said, “This is one of the fastest developed vaccines in history.”

“We may be going towards a recession, but we are faced with an invisible enemy.”

Trump was asked about the fall in the stock market and coronavirus’ impact on the economy as well as concerns regarding a possible recession in the U.S. He said, “We could be heading towards a recession. We are facing an invisible enemy, a problem that no one could know a month ago. Our priority is to eliminate this problem. Then everything will fall into place.”

He said that there could be a major improvement in the economy after the coronavirus crisis and that U.S. airline companies would be supported 100 percent during this process.

Coronavirus Warning from the White House: “Do Your Part”

Following the announcement by President Donald Trump at the press conference of the Task Force established as part of the fight against the coronavirus, the White House issued a series of warnings about measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

The notification, which has been published, contains warnings such as, “Don’t go to work or go out if you are sick,” “Don’t send your children to school if they are sick,” “Don’t go out if anyone from your family has been diagnosed with corona,” and “Don’t go out if you are old aged or have a chronic illness.”

In the statement, the message was given that the public had been advised to do their part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Measures at the Pentagon

There has been a statement from the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense regarding the fight against the coronavirus. It was stated that Secretary Mark Esper would be working from a physically different location than his deputy and the rest of his team.

According to the statement made by a Pentagon spokesperson, restrictions have been brought to visits to Secretary Mark Esper, and visitors were being scanned. In the statement, it was said that so far, 18 soldiers had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Yale Academician Kaveh Khoshnood: “Don’t Panic!”

Image result for Kaveh Khoshnood,

Kaveh Khoshood, Faculty Director of InnovativeHealth and Program Co-Director of the Global Health Ethics Program at Yale University, spoke to Turk of America on the coronavirus threat. He highlighted that the coronavirus is a brand new virus, and a vaccine license for the coronavirus would take over a year to implement. He also has two recommendations for the public:

a: There is no point to panic or be fearful

b: Don’t ignore the reality

He also stated the following: “U.S. has a lot of resources and can contribute globally. WHO same thing but doesn’t have a position for testing or funding. WHO role to play a source/guidance where it is collecting data from countries. Some countries don’t trust West, however, they trust WHO.”

Latest Developments on Coronavirus(03.17.2020)

Confirmed Cases: 182,100

Death Toll: 7,305

Impacted Countries: 140 countries

Top Leading Countries: China, Italy, Iran

As of today, at least 4,482 people in 49 states, have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 86 people have died.

  • Published in Health

President Trump:The Coronavirus shows need for better flu shot

3,131 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus and deaths worldwide exceed those from SARS.92,312 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, with more cases popping up outside China than inside. with the new cases in Iran, Italy, and South Korea. In the last week, the virus has spread faster than it did in China.There are now more than 100 confirmed cases in the U.S., with 18 of those in Washington state, which also has the first related deaths (six).

President Donald Trump held a press conference on COVID-19 (coronavirus) at the White House together with Vice President Mike Pence, Health Secretary Alex Azar, and Health officials.

President Trump who emphasized that his priority was the health and safety of the US public and that the administration had taken the necessary precautions from the very first day, said: “We are ready to do what we need to do if this disease spreads. However, the risk to the people of the US is fairly low.” Stating that he had been working closely with Congress regarding the issue of the virus and that he believed a common ground had been established between the two parties, Trump said, “We asked Congress for a fund of $2.5 billion. We think that is enough. However, the Democrats want much more than that. They want more money; we’re going to do more. We’re going to spend as much money as is appropriate. I hope we don’t have to spend that much money.”

“TREAT COVID-19 LIKE THE FLU”

Trump called on Americans to treat COVID-19 like the flu and said, “Wash your hands, keep yourselves clean. You don’t have to shake hands with everyone. If there are people with signs of the cold or flu around me, I move away immediately. Treat this virus like the flu, too.”

HEALTH SECRETARY AZAR: THE FINAL VACCINE COULD TAKE UP TO 8 MONTHS

“We have to stop any further spread of COVID-19. We can expect more cases in the US. The US is at risk; the coronavirus could spread rapidly within the community.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who is the highest authority in the Trump government who is in charge of the struggle against the coronavirus outbreak, stated that the necessary equipment to detect cases of infection more quickly is being produced and distributed. On the other hand, Pence said, “Apart from the ban on travel to those coming from Iran, no nationals of any other countries who have visited Iran in the last 14 days will be allowed in the US, either.” Pence said, “We are warning Americans against traveling to Italy and South Korea, which are among the places most affected by the coronavirus.”

Concerning the development of a coronavirus vaccine at military laboratories, US Chief of Staff Mark Milley said, “We will look at the developments in the coming months.”

THE SIXTH DEATH IN THE U.S.

The number of deaths due to the new-type Coronavirus (Covid-19) has risen to 6 in the State of Washington, in the USA. Officials have stated that there are 18 cases in Washington State, 14 in King County and 4 in Snohomish County. There have been over 100 cases detected throughout the US until now.

President Trump and other senior officials met with leading executives from the pharmaceutical industry at the White House yesterday.

 

NSC Advisor O'Brien: "Assad is a very bad actor"

 

Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center hosted U.S. National Security Council Advisor Ambassador Robert O'Brien,Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for a "View from the West Wing" conversation about both national security and the process for managing the National Security Council in our turbulent time.

President of Atlantic Council, Fred Kempe, and Former National Security Advisor Steven Heydemann made opening remarks and CBS News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Face the Nation Moderator Margaret Brennen moderated the program.

"Assad is a very bad actor,Iranians who are up to their ears are terrible actors,the Russians are not helping the situation, and Turks are not helping the situation. Erdogan and Putin, who have an interesting relationship, sometimes they are the best of friends and sometimes they are not. It is really up to them to work that situation out," Ambassador O'Brien said.

Margaret Brennan asked Ambassador O'Brien what the U.S. is doing about the violence in Idlib, Syria. "I do not think we are going to intervene militarily in Idlib to straighten out that bad situation,What are we supposed to do to stop them? We're supposed to be a global policeman and hold up a sign and say stop this Turkey, stop this Russia?" Ambassador O'Brien said.

U.S.-China Relations:

Ambassador Robert O'Brien admitted that the Chinese Government promised purchases under the Phase 1 trade deal will be reduced as a result of the growing health emergency.

"This could have an impact on phase one deal. It's not going to change the phase one deal. It's just we expect that is part of the phase one deal. China will expend more money on U.S. agricultural products. And we'll have to see how that plays out, "Ambassador O'Brien said.

Ambassador O'Brien said:" We've offered American doctors and experts to China to assist with coronavirus, but the offer has not yet been accepted."

He also highlighted that the U.S. would like to see North Korea its Singapore Summit commitments, and they are open for another summit If there's an opportunity to make progress.

Ambassador O'Brien believes that It's time for America to come home, and we wanted to come back under conditions that keep in place protections for our colleagues and our partners in Afghanistan. We want to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a safe-haven for terrorism again."

Restructuring NSC

In his address, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert reported that the National Security Council was in the final stages of a reorganization that would get it "back to a manageable size. In the last five months of the Trump Administration, White House National Security Council has shrunk from over 175 policy staffers to 115 staffers. He also explained how NSC is working under his leadership.

Regarding the recent Philippines decision ending its military cooperation agreement with the United States, Ambassador O'Brien said that the United States would remain a strong partner in the Philippines. We are there to help the Philippines."

Pictures taken by Ali Cinar,Atlantic Council

Trump Administration declares Public Health Emergency for the U.S. for 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

 

White House officials held a briefing on Friday stated that the risk to Americans was “low,” and they wanted to keep it that way. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that President Trump signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry to any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks, aside from the immediate family of U.S. citizens.

White House officials said that they were taking further steps because it was found that coronavirus can spread by people who show no symptoms, making it much harder to contain.

U.S. citizens returning to the United States who have been in China’s Hubei province within 14 days will face a mandatory quarantine. Other Americans returning to the United States from different parts of China will face enhanced screening and a self-quarantine of up to fourteen days. Also, the U.S. would begin funneling all flights from China to the United States through 7 airports, where there would be enhanced screening.

Secretary Azar called the measures “fairly incremental” and “appropriate, preventative steps.” 

Another speaker at the White House Press briefing Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the current situation on the novel coronavirus. “The risk to the American public currently is low. Our goal is to do all we can do to keep it that way. As of today, there are nearly 9,700 cases in China, with more than 200 deaths. Additionally, currently, there are another 23 countries that have confirmed, totally, 132 cases — twelve individuals who were confirmed in six countries who did not travel to China. 

6 Confirmed Cases and 191 people in the U.S. are being investigated for the disease.

“To date, we have confirmed six cases of this novel virus in the United States.I want to emphasize that this is a significant global situation, and it continues to evolve,” said Dr. Redfield.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the issue now with this is that there's a lot of unknowns. He highlighted that they were not sure if there were asymptomatic infections, which would make it a much broader outbreak than what we're seeing. 

Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun also explained the role of the Department of State in the proceedings of this task force and our contributions. State Department’s first responsibility is to monitor events on the ground in China where they have the presence of U.S. diplomats and to give clear and accurate advice to American citizens and, in particular, American travelers considering visiting or staying in China. The second responsibility that Deputy Secretary of State said that is to assist U.S. citizens in the affected areas as much as possible. Lastly, the core mission of the Department of State is to work closely with our international partners. 

Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli also explained the situation from the custom border perspective.TSA, the security, and the engagement with the airlines are critical. Our chief medical officer in the department is in CWMD, and we were providing medical support at the airports. “ Mr. Cuccunelli said. He also added that FEMA continues to prepare and support HHS preparations themselves.DHS will be implementing a funneling effort at the airports. It will be done under the authority of the Customs and Border Protection, and it will include seven airports. Incoming flights from China will be funneled through seven airports starting by 5.00 pm on Sunday, Eastern Time,. Those airports are JFK, Chicago's O'Hare, in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Honolulu, and LAX. 

Confirmed Cases increasing day by day 

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in China climbed to more than 11,800 as of Saturday morning,

Limited Travel to China

Many countries airlines announced that they stop flying to China for at least a month. American Airlines, Delta, and United would suspend all remaining service to mainland China after a State Department warning put a damper on demand for flights there.

Big Fear at the Fortune 500 Companies-Negative impact on global trade?

Many American companies announced that they gave an order to restrict restricted their employees’ Chinese business travel. There is a big fear that global trade would be affected negatively.

Dow Jones also fell 600 points on coronavirus fears as the US declares public health emergency,

President’s Presidential Proclamation, using his authority according to Section 212(f) of the Immigration and National Act, temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Details: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Published in Latest

President Trump Vows Sanctions on Iraq

The hundreds of Iraqis attacking the U.S. embassy in Baghdad were not innocent "protesters," They were mainly members of the Iran-backed militias that, not least at the behest of the IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by U.S. strike.

U.S.-Iran tensions have manifested themselves on Iraqi land for at least three years, and the United States and Iran are on heightened alert after a weekend of military action and fiery rhetoric. President Trump finished his Florida visit last night. During a flight from Florida to Washington, DC on Air Force One, President Trump talked about the increasing tensions with Iran. "They're allowed to kill our people, they're allowed to torture and maim our people, they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we're not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way," President Trump stated.  

President Trump threatened Iraq with the sanctions and a bill for billions of dollars if the U.S. is forced to withdraw its troops from the nation after the Iraqi Parliament. "If they do ask us to leave if we don't do it on an amicable basis. We will charge them sanctions as they've never seen before ever," President Trump said. Last night, there were strikes in the capital of Iraq, in which three rockets landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, US Embassy in Baghdad. Pentagon has announced that additional 3,500 troops are in progress to be sent to the region/U.S. have almost 60,000 troops in the Middle East. United States has 9 Military bases with 5200 US Troops. 

Recent Tweets from President Trump on Iran:

"Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serves as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!"

"They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!"

"The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!"

Secretary Pompeo's Media Appearances and Diplomatic Efforts:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appeared on many major TV outlets since Saturday. "We have developed a strategy to attempt to convince the Iranian regime to behave like a normal nation. We expect to achieve that goal. We will defend America." Secretary Pompeo said on CNN. 

He was asked about the Iraqi Parliament's vote; Secretary Pompeo said on the CBS program "Face the Nation,": "It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,

Iranian Cultural Site Conflict

President Trump raised the prospect of targeting Iranian heritage/cultural sites Saturday in a tweet; however, many foreign policy experts objected to his tweet regarding targeting Iranian culture. As an example, Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, said President Trump's threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites would be a war crime under U.N. Security Council resolution 2347.

Regarding President Trump's statement attacking Iranian Cultural sites, Secretary Pompeo said that the United States would "behave lawfully" and "behave inside the system." Also, Presidential Adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested that Iran may be hiding strategic military targets at cultural sites

Secretary Pompeo Speaks Turkish Foreign Minister 

Secretary Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has discussed the decisive defensive action by President Donald Trump employed in Baghdad to protect American lives. Secretary reiterated the importance of countering the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities.

Secretary Pompeo has called his counterparts of Israel. Germany, Russia, China, Italy, France, UAE, and many other senior leaders globally regarding the U.S. recent operation in Baghdad.

Written Statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry:

 "We strongly reiterate that turning Iraq into a conflict zone will harm peace and stability not only in Iraq but also in the entire region. Turkey has always been against foreign interventions, assassinations, and sectarian conflicts in the region."

European Leaders urge Iran to abide by nuclear pact.

French President, German Chancellor, and U.K. Prime Minister release a joint statement "We specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation, and urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPA. Also, NATO and US-led coalition Suspend Training Missions in Iraq After Soleimani's Killing

What to expect this week?

President Trump continues tweeting and speaking on Iran and Iraq. Additionally, Iran officials continue to criticize and threaten the U.S. regarding Soleimani's death. It is unknown what would be Iran's next step on U.S. however U.S. is ready to hit back harder if necessary. Gasoline is already up by about six cents a gallon in response to the escalation. We might see a negative economic impact shortly, globally. Iran could disrupt shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, which is the world's biggest oil chokepoint. There are about 21 million barrels of oil a day flowed through Strait of Hormuz per year. 

The U.S. administration continues to pursue a robust program of sanctions against Iran and has issued 9 Executive Orders to implement Congressional legislation since 2011. Trump has an option to have more sanctions on Iran.

Cybersecurity is important since one of the Iranian groups hacked the website of the Federal Depository Library Program.

The relationship between the U.S. and Iraqi government is getting worse, so if the Iraq Government approves the resolution of U.S. troops leaving would be a disaster. This would be more an opportunity for Iran and many terrorist groups. Iran also announced its complete departure from the 2015 nuclear deal that would be bad news for the West. 

With the nuclear agreement, the West was controlling Iran at some point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many Democrats have been critical of Trump's decision to conduct an airstrike in Iraq that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President's military actions regarding Iran. Senator Tim Kaine introduced a similar resolution. Diplomatic channels are essential to reduce the tension, so many countries have a responsibility to talk to both sides.

NATO Leaders Meeting in London and the Future of NATO

NATO Heads of State and Government meeting in London witnessed some groundbreaking declarations. During the meeting, it was announced that North Macedonia would join the organization as its 30th member and for the first time, China's rising power became the subject of a joint declaration which stated that "China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance”. 

"We have been able to change when the world is changing," said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO, underlining that NATO is the most successful alliance in history. Stoltenberg further stated that the defense expenditures have increased and there is only one platform for North America and Europe to discuss and make decisions.

In the joint declaration, countries have agreed on solidarity and Moscow's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was also touched upon, underlining that Russia's worrying activities pose a threat to the Euro-Atlantic security.

It was underlined that NATO members have increased the number of initiatives to protect their sovereignty in both the aerial and naval domains and that NATO's defensive and dissuasive powers are continuing to being strengthened with nuclear, conventional and missile defensive capabilities. In addition, the commitment to the 5th article of the Washington Treaty which promises that "an armed attack against one member state is an armed attack against all members" was reiterated 

The Trump-Erdogan Meeting

The latest developments between Turkey and the USA were addressed in this unexpected meeting which took place over the course of NATO Heads of State and Government meeting. While the USA was represented by Pompeo - the Secretary of State- and O'Brien - the National Security Advisor -, Yildirim - former prime minister -, Cavusoglu - Minister of Foreign Affairs -, Albayrak - Minister of Finance -, Akar - Minister of National Defence -, Dr. Altun - Communication Director of the Presidency - and Kalin - Presidential Spokesman - were present to represent Turkey.

During the Trump-Erdogan meeting, which was the second face-to-face meeting of the leaders in a month, NATO's co-operation was discussed once again.

The Merkel-Johnson-Erdogan-Macron Meeting

Following the suggestion of President Erdogan, Boris Johnson - Prime Minister of the UK - hosted a quadruple summit where the before mentioned leaders came together with Emmanuel Macron - President of France - and Angela Merkel - Chancellor of Germany - to discuss Syria. In the joint declaration that was presented at the end of the meeting which lasted over an hour, it was stated that the countries agreed on ceasing the attacks that target the civilians all over Syria, including Idlib. While the second quadruple summit is planned to be held in Turkey in February 2020, and Turkey watches Europe's lack of action with concern, in regards to events that are taking place in Syria. 

Turkey's YPG-PKK Sensitivity

An issue was raised about Turkey's initial refusal to back Baltic defense plan over YPG-PKK matter, and the country's later approval for the before mentioned plan. Yet the Turkish side declared that the previous statements made in regards to the correlation between YPG and PKK by the NATO members are still valid, and that the countries have agreed upon certain issues.

However, the disagreements over YPG-PKK matter between the USA and Turkey continue to exist. While some American military authorities and diplomats acknowledge the correlation between YPK and PKK, YPG is being segregated when it comes to Syria.

The sincere support of NATO members to Turkey's fight against terror is important. Otherwise, the presence of the trust issue between certain members will continue to exist.

Trump's Sensitivity to the NATO Budget

After President Trump had taken office and criticized that the NATO member countries are not fair when it comes to NATO's budget, the budget issue had come to the forefront.

This year, NATO members, who have increased their defense expenditures continuously for the last 5 years, increased their defense expenditures by 4.6% in real terms. The number of countries allocated 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense expenditures has increased to 9. These countries are Bulgaria (3.25 %), Greece (2.28%), England (2.14%), Estonia (2.14%) , Romania (2.04%), Lithuania (2.03%) , Latvia (2.01%) and Poland (2%).

Additionally, Trump got together with leaders of these 9 countries for a dinner as a mean to thank them.

This year the defense expenditures of NATO members surpass $984 billion. While Turkey's budget is $18 billion, the USA single-handedly contributes 70% of NATO's defense expenditure by spending $685 billion 99 million.

 

The 30th Member North Macedonia 

NATO took its final step to accept its 30th member after having signed the accession protocol with Northern Macedonia in February. Zoran Zaev, the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia took part in the leaders' summit in London and the flag of N. Macedonia was represented at the NATO meetings.

Northern Macedonia, which took part in the NATO meetings, will become the 30th member of NATO once the accession protocol has been approved in the parliaments of all member countries and all official procedures have been completed.

While the area of influence of Russia becomes more restricted with Northern Macedonia, it is expected that NATO will also continue its policy of expansion in 2020.

NATO, S400 and Turkey-Spain Relations

Spanish Prime Minister announced that Spain would maintain its presence in the NATO missile defense mission in Turkey and made a reference to other members. Because Turkey expresses that they are not receiving an adequate amount of patriots from the NATO members against internal and external security threats.

In addition to this, Jens Stoltenberg - Secretary-General of NATO - stated that the "S-400s used by Turkey will never be integrated into the NATO".

 

Dispute over Macron and Trump-Erdogan Solidarity

As was the case before the London summit, both US President Trump and President Erdogan responded to French President Macron's statements that the brain death of NATO had occurred, giving out the message that we would endeavor to make NATO even stronger. Trump referred to the words of Macron as very humiliating and said, "NATO has a great purpose. Nobody needs NATO more than France. These kinds of statements are very dangerous".

2019 NATO Activities

 

Established in 1949, NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Apart from the London Summit, the organization hosted two conferences at foreign ministerial level (with one of these in Washington DC) and three conferences at defense ministerial level.

Established in 1949, NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Apart from the London Summit which was participated by the Heads of State and Government of the member countries, the organization hosted two conferences at foreign ministerial level (with one of these in Washington DC) and three conferences at defense ministerial level.

NATO, along with performing over 100 military operations this year, has declared space as the new theater of operations. It has also been announced that NATO was on new actions regarding cybersecurity.

Following North Macedonia, the work is being done to include Georgia to NATO as a member country. Even though there are difficulties due to Russian annexation over 20% of Georgian land, NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg will be in Tbilisi in March and NATO has a coordination office in Tbilisi since 2010.

NATO had also reached a $ 1 billion agreement with Boeing, allowing AWACS fleet to serve until 2035.

As a summary, the future of NATO is not in despair. With each member is making positive statements on the organization, investments of NATO in new fields, attempts to reach the desired budget and with new members, I presume that this 70-year-old alliance will last many many years.

 

 

 

 

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