EXCLUSIVE-U.S. defense chief calls on Turkey to stop holding up NATO readiness plan

December 3, 2019

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LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged Turkey on Monday to stop holding up support for a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland, as Ankara presses the alliance to support its fight against U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG militia in Syria.

In an interview with Reuters ahead of the NATO summit, Esper warned Ankara that “not everybody sees the threats that they see” and added he would not support labeling the YPG as terrorists to break the impasse.

He called on Ankara to focus on the larger challenges facing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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