Turkey says no change in objection to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation plan on Baltics

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

More: Why is Turkey fighting Syria's Kurds and how is the U.S. involved?

Last year, the Western allies' get-together was derailed by US President Donald Trump's demand for greater European defence spending, but 2019's provocateur was France's Emmanuel Macron.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders will attempt to make a convincing show of unity on Wednesday when they meet to conclude a summit already overshadowed by bitter rows about the future of the alliance.

Discussions over the Turkish military offensive in Syria are to take place at 10 Downing Street, with France's Emmanuel Macron and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan set to meet on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in London.

"President Macron is seizing that moment, seeking to be disruptive in his own way, and so we will see how that works", Heather A. Conley, Director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The New York Times.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Turkey had dropped its block on a plan to bolster the defenses of Baltic states and Poland against Russian Federation.

And secondly, he said it would have to be asked whether Turkey wants to remain a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if Erdogan makes good on a threat to delay Baltic defence measures unless allies declare the Kurdish militia terrorists.

Trump suggested Macron had not answered the question.

"I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground", Macron said.

Erdogan isn't the only world leader attending the meeting in London to have criticised Macron's "brain death" comments. "This is our number one priority and it's not yet done", he said.

'We have tripled the size of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence force which can be reinforced if needed, invested in high end capabilities, stepped up in the fight against terrorism with a new training mission in Iraq and European allies are investing more in defence'.

"When I came in, I was angry at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and now I've raised $130 billion", Trump said, referring to the sum Stoltenberg says Canada and European members since 2016 will have added to defence budgets by next year.



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