Dogu Perincek, a Turkish presidential candidate from the left-wing Patriotic Party (VATAN) on Monday said he will take the country out of the NATO military alliance if he wins in the upcoming election.
Turkey will hold a presidential election on June 24 and six candidates, including Perincek, have been registered to run for presidency.
“NATO considers Turkey as an enemy, despite the fact that Turkey is a member of the alliance.
“Turkey will withdraw from NATO, the U.S. aircraft from the Incirlik airbase will fly home, the base will come under the control of the Turkish military and there would not be any US military presence,’’ Mr Perincek said.
The politician recalled recent NATO drills, where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of Turkey along with incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were marked as enemies.
Mr Perincek also recalled U.S. support for Kurdish militant groups as a reason for the Turkey-NATO spat.
The presidential candidate added that Washington has been trying to pressure Ankara over its cooperation with Russia and Iran in Syria.
“The United States will fail, because the pivot of Turkey to the Atlantic region is impossible from now on, it’s real place is in Eurasia together with Russia, Iran, China, India and the Central Asia states,’’ Mr Perincek added.
Turkey has been a NATO member state since 1952.
However in recent years tensions between Ankara and other alliance members, particularly Washington, have escalated amid political differences such as the U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units.
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