US President-elect Donald Trump is right to call on Europeans to spend more on defence, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
Stoltenberg made his remarks in an interview with euronews at an event organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels.
“(Trump’s) main message was on defence spending, burden sharing, between Europe and the United States. And there I absolutely agree with him. We need a more balanced burden sharing between the United States and Europe. It’s not viable in the long run that the United States pays 70 percent of the total defence spending of NATO,” the former Norwegian prime minister said.
Trump called the 70-year-old alliance “obsolete” during his election campaign and said the US might only stand by the principle of collective defence if those members who had been attacked had paid their NATO dues.
It left some members from eastern Europe and the Baltic states worried that the United States would not intervene if they were attacked.
Stoltenberg also said that Turkish officers posted to NATO have sought asylum since July’s failed coup
But he declined to comment on which countries were concerned, or how many officers have requested protection.
Ankara launched a crackdown after the military-led coup, detaining and jailing thousands of people.
The former Norwegian prime minister is set to travel to the country on Sunday.
“We have seen some examples of some officers requesting asylum,” Stoltenberg said.
“My main focus is to make sure that we have officers filling the different posts in the NATO command structure. When it comes to the question of asylum that is something that the different nations where the officers are seeking have to address, assess and make decisions on,” he added.
Eight Turkish officers fled to Greece shortly after the coup.
They are all trying to seek asylum there and the legal process is ongoing.
Their lawyers argue they will not receive a fair trial back in Turkey.