NATO calls on Turkey to join EU sanctions against Russia as Putin visits Ankara

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Dec. 1. AFP Photo

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has voiced his expectations from Turkey to join the economic sanctions campaign against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.

 His comments come on the day when Russia and Turkey were set to hold talks to increase the trade volume from the current $33 billion to $100 billion by 2020.

"Of course I'd like to see as many countries as possible be part of this, to support the sanctions. It's important that it has an effect," Stoltenberg replied to questions at a press conference on Dec. 1 regarding Turkey's efforts to boost trade with Russia while the Western bloc is united to impose sanctions on Russia.

 Sanctions are not decided by NATO, but by the European Union and the U.S., Stoltenberg stressed, noting he welcomes these measures. "I believe there has to be consequences when a country is responsible for these kinds of aggressive actions that we have seen in Ukraine [committed] by Russia."

 Russia annexing Crimea from Ukraine has prompted international uproar and led to the imposition of consecutive sanctions against Moscow by the EU. Turkey announced that it would not join the sanctions as a matter of principle, and intensified talks with Russia on how it could fill the gap created by the EU's sanctions.

 Stoltenberg's statement came as the Turkish and Russian presidents were scheduled to have in detail talks to multiply and diversify bilateral trade, as well as seek new fields of cooperation.   

 "Russia has a choice, either it continues to violate international law while becoming ever more isolated, or it reasserts the implementation of international agreements and its commitments, restoring cooperation with the world," Stoltenberg said.

 He said Russia has been...

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