Turner to address NATO summit on Friday

The Dayton congressman is president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, on Friday will address NATO leaders in Warsaw at a summit attended by some of the world’s most powerful individuals, including President Barack Obama, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Turner, president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will give the opening remarks at the closed session of the summit, which comes as some are calling for a strong response by the alliance to Russia and ISIS.

Turner said he will lay out the Parliamentary Assembly’s priorities for NATO. The assembly is an organization of about 250 lawmakers from the 28 NATO member countries. Turner, a seven-term congressman, is in the final year of his two-year term.

Key among his priorities: Being able to respond to both ISIS and Russia now that they present direct threats to NATO countries and relying more heavily on NATO members other than the United States to respond to threats.

Russia is a particular focus, Turner said.

“Russia has made it clear now that they are a bullying actor in the world,” he said. “And they have formally adopted a military policy that identifies NATO as an adversary where before NATO considered Russia a partner.”

Turner said the U.S. and the NATO members in Europe need to invest more on Defense to counter the Russian threat.

“U.S. military readiness is diminished as a result of sequestration,” he said. “We have gaps in our capabilities.” Referring to Russia, he said, “They’re investing, modernizing and building their capabilities as ours is declining.”

The military commitment of NATO members became an issue in the presidential campaign when Republican nominee Donald Trump suggested that countries that don’t pay their fair share to the alliance can’t continue to expect the U.S. to come to their aid if attacked by Russia.

Turner said he wants to send a message that all countries need to invest in their military.

“Investing in our military shouldn’t be based upon people who threaten us it should be based on what’s necessary to keep us secure,” he said. “People will always come around who decide to threaten other nations. We just have to be prepared.”