07:17 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Turkey Turns Away From NATO to New Partner for Military Cooperation

    © AFP 2019 / ILYAS AKENGIN
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    German media recently reported that Berlin and some of its NATO allies do not want the next annual alliance meeting to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. According to political analyst and military expert Alexander Perendzhiev, the reason is a split within the military bloc.

    The diplomats of almost 20 NATO member states want to send a clear signal of protest against the domestic policy of the Turkish government, the German newspaper Die Welt reported.

    "We do not want to enhance Turkey's international credentials and we want to avoid the impression that NATO supports the Turkish government's internal policy," a high-ranking NATO official told the newspaper.

    The proposal to host the annual NATO summit in Istanbul was initially made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at last year’s meeting in the Polish capital of Warsaw.

    Instead of hosting the summit in Istanbul, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark proposed to hold the meeting at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The idea has been endorsed by 18 NATO members and Canada.

    Commenting on the situation, Alexander Perendzhiev, a political and military analyst and lecturer at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, suggested that NATO’s protest move against Turkey is rooted in the ongoing split within the alliance.

    "From the very beginning, Turkey was a dissident country [in NATO]. A military coup attempt took place in Turkey last summer. At the time, a wedge was driven between NATO and Ankara because it turned out that not only the United States but other NATO states were involved," Perendzhiev said in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

    Tensions between Turkey and NATO further deepened over Turkey’s Incirlik air base, which is used by the alliance’s forces for their military operation.

    According to the analyst, escalation between Ankara and NATO has been on the rise since then and the rift is likely to continue widening.

    As a result, as Perendzhiev noted, there is an apparent trend of the Turkish government now increasingly leaning to find new partners outside of NATO, first of all Russia.

    "Turkey wants to cooperate with Russia on a number of current issues, for example, the fight against terrorism. Moreover, Ankara wants to establish military and technical cooperation with Moscow. There have been reports that Turkey is considering buying S-400 missile defense systems from Russia," the expert said.

    According to Perendzhiev, all of the above indicates that Turkey is drifting away from NATO and NATO is turning away from Turkey.

    "I think that NATO’s refusal to host the summit in Istanbul will further contribute to the deepening of the rift between Ankara and the alliance," he concluded.


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    military cooperation, tensions, NATO, Turkey, Russia
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