Turkey backs down on threat to block Nato plans for Baltics and Poland

Turkey has backed down from a threat to block Nato defence plans for the Baltics but remains deeply at odds with the rest of the alliance over its attack on Kurdish forces in Syria and its purchase of a Russian missile system.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, went into the Nato summit in London warning that he would veto plans to bolster forces in Poland and the Baltics unless the alliance designated  the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists. 

While Western leaders were alarmed that Turkish opposition could derail efforts to deter Russia in eastern Europe, they said there was no chance of siding with Turkey against the forces who spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Mr Erdoğan dropped the demand on Wednesday even though there was no discussion of the YPG militia, said Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato. It was not clear why Turkey reversed course but the move came as Mr Erdoğan held an unscheduled meeting with Donald Trump. 

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, led the criticism of Turkey at the Nato summit, saying on Thursday that there was no “possible consensus” with Turkey on the question of which groups should be considered terrorists. 

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