"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.
"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.
"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.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!