Turkey is expected to assume command of the NATO-led force in Kosovo in a planned rotation this fall, in the wake of the worst clashes in the region in a decade, according to Turkish officials familiar with the issue.
Turkey will likely take over leadership of the mission known as KFOR from Italy in October, the officials said, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the information. The handover was planned for some time, but the final decision was made only recently.
Turkey’s defense ministry had no immediate comment. A spokesperson for NATO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier in Kosovo, more than 50 people were wounded in clashes with NATO forces, after which the alliance sent 700 soldiers as reinforcements. Turkey’s 65th Motorized Rifle Brigade Special Forces recently arrived in Kosovo as part of a reinforcement of NATO forces deployed in the region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the decision to send Turkish troops to Kosovo against the backdrop of escalation in the region in coordination with the leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance.