The Turkish game: NATO refuses to hold a summit in Istanbul

© RIA Novosti / Alexei Vitvitskiy in fotobanka of the participating countries at the NATO summit. Archival photoThe Turkish game: NATO refuses to hold a summit in Istanbul© RIA Novosti / Alexei Vitvitskiy the image Bank

A number of European countries, at least Germany, France, Denmark and the Netherlands — want to block the holding of the NATO summit in Istanbul in 2018. This was first reported by German newspaper Die Welt, citing its own sources in the headquarters of the Alliance. «We don’t want to see Turkey strengthened its position and to give the impression that NATO maintains an internal policy of the Turkish government,» Die Welt quoted an anonymous high-ranking official of the office of NATO. The newspaper also confirmed a number of European publications.

Recall that the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed to hold the summit in Istanbul in July, 2016 in Warsaw, when meeting members of NATO. But at that time no formal decision was taken. While observers noted that while this proposal could be adopted «by default».
The relations between Turkey and its European NATO partners in recent times don’t add up. Erdogan criticized the constitutional reform (in the EU believe that the Turkish leader received a «dictatorial» powers), the persecution of political opponents and journalists. But the roots of the differences go back in 2016. During the migration crisis in Turkey held back the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe. In return, Erdogan repeatedly promised to introduce a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens. In may 2016, the Commission published a package of proposals, among which was the recommendation to enter between the EU and Turkey visa-free regime.

It seemed that the goal is achieved. However, after a couple of weeks, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said: «Absolutely not, we began to discuss the easing of the visa regime before Turkey will meet all 72 criteria that identified for her the European Union». Among the criteria — mitigation anti-terrorism legislation. The EU knew that Erdogan is such a step will never go. The road to Europe for Turkey was closed.

New tensions occurred in may of this year. The German deputies were not allowed on base in Incirlik. «Germany looks negatively on Turkey. In such conditions it is impossible to allow the German MPs to visit Incirlik,» — said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu. That is, the Turks were not allowed in the country’s own NATO allies. It is possible that this was a response to granting asylum in Berlin those Turkish citizens, which Ankara suspects of involvement in the coup attempt last summer.

Further escalation increase. As a full member of NATO, Turkey has in this organization a veto — right and that Erdogan has used: Turkey has vetoed NATO’s cooperation with Austria, which is a member of the bloc is not, but is actively cooperating with the Alliance. So, about 500 Austrian soldiers are in Kosovo. «This is irresponsible behavior,» — said the Minister of defence of Austria Hans Peter Doskocil.

However, NATO quickly found a way to circumvent the Turkish veto: allowed bilateral partnership between the countries — members of the Alliance and non-aligned countries. But this format is extremely difficult to work. Moreover, it is not possible relapses. According to the Austrian variant Turkey may block relationships with any of the partner States of NATO.

In the current circumstances, Ankara could appeal to the Washington — senior partner of the Europeans. But the Americans Erdogan, things are very difficult. First, the White house openly helping Syrian Kurds of the YPG — political and military opponents of Turkey. The objections of the Turks the administration of Donald trump ignored. Second, the US is hiding an Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey considers the direct organizer of the coup attempt. Requests Ankara to extradite Gulen Washington ignores.

As in the case of the European members of NATO, relations between Turkey and the United States have a difficult background. However, it concerns not so much the United States in General, as personally to the President of the trump. In 2016, Erdogan urged to rename the tower the Trump Tower in Istanbul, as trump during the election campaign allowed herself «Islamophobic» statements. Certainly, the American President remembered the words of Erdogan.