"I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago. Number two the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay. I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete. It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror," Trump told the newspaper.
During his presidential campaign, Trump called into question the viability of NATO, the disproportionate US financial contribution to the alliance and Washington’s pledge to defend NATO’s members as per Article 5 of the Washington Treaty that established the alliance in 1949.
"Many in the US have long criticized NATO over the fact that the alliance shoulders the almost unbearable burden of protecting Europe. Many believe that the US spends too much money on the alliance, without visible returns. This is harmful to the American economy," Çonkar told Sputnik Turkiye.
The lawmaker also underscored that the alliance is rightfully criticized for lacking initiative on counterterrorism efforts and the migrant crisis.
"Let’s take Turkey as an example. As a member of NATO, Turkey is engaged in active counterterrorism efforts. At the same time, the fact that other country members lack solidarity with Turkey proves that Trump is right," he said.
Furthermore, the lawmaker suggested that Trump’s statements will pave the way for a serious discussion about the future of NATO.
"The main question is whether NATO members are able to fulfill their obligations, including in maintaining security and distributing the financial burden. There are assumptions that the new US presidential administration will not tolerate the lack of financial contributions from certain NATO members," Çonkar said.
According to the lawmaker, NATO should reconsider its priorities, placing focus on fighting terrorist organizations posing a threat to the stability and security of the alliance.