BEIRUT, LEBANON (0:31 P.M.) – According to the German news outlet Die Welt Germany blocked Turkey from holding the next NATO summit in 2018. Germany is supported by 10 out of 28 NATO member states in this topic.
The official decision on the location of the next summit will be made in the coming days and was considered a mere formality, expected to conform Erdogan’s invitation voiced in 2016. But now with Germany’s intervention it has become another conflict laden issue, further deepening the rift between Turkey and many Western NATO members.
Germany seems to have shifted it’s foreign policy recently, with Merkel lashing out at the US after the G7 summit, describing them as unreliable as partners and calling for European self determination. The next day German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel even went as far as excluding the US from the West due to it’s “breakdown”.
The relations of Turkey to some members of NATO are also in turmoil. Last year’s failed military coup prompted Erdogan to accuse the West, including the US, to have designed the incident, that had military jets circling major cities, tanks in the streets and military helicopters shooting at people that tried to thwart their efforts.
Back then Incirlik airbase, which is used by many NATO members and also hosts US strategic nuclear weapons, was put in lock-down by Turkish authorities. Shortly after the airbase was back in normal operation, but ever since foreign politicians are not permitted to visit the base.
Still Germany and others insist, that their members of parliament must be allowed to inspect their respective country’s troops at Inrcirlik and threaten to otherwise pull out their military. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen already announced, that an airbase in Jordan was determined to be a suitable replacement for Incirlik.
Last week NATO also altered it’s statutes in reaction to Turkey’s veto against a NATO partnership with Austria. Now Austria is still being blocked, but NATO can at least carry on the cooperations with other partner states, without having to discard Austria from a prior neccessary comprehensive adoption of all partnerships.
According to Die Welt, highranking diplomats within NATO explained the newest move as an attempt to distance NATO from Turkey’s domestic policies: “We do not want to upvalue Turkey internationally and want to avoid the impression, that NATO was supporting the Turkish government’s internal policies.”