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The Turkey’s new interests are provoking friction in NATO

This post was published in RT. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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ANKARA, (BM) – As a result of recent diplomatic and military moves, Turkey began to make its presence felt from the Middle East to the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, Milliyet writes. This increases the risk of confrontation and friction within NATO, as a result of which compromise is complicated, the author notes.

Recently, there have been disputes between Turkey and France more than once, Milliyet states. In particular, Paris opposes the military operations of Ankara in Syria, and also actively supports the Greek administration of Cyprus and Greece as opposed to Turkish aspirations. If we recall the well-known position of France regarding the “Armenian genocide” and Turkey’s EU membership in the recent past, the sources of bilateral tension become apparent, the author notes.

But last week, a more serious incident took place off the coast of Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean, and NATO had to be connected to the investigation. Versions of the parties vary: France stated that the Turkish frigate allegedly “pursued” a French warship participating in a NATO mission and attempting to verify a cargo ship allegedly carrying arms to Libya. However, Turkey categorically denied all these allegations, writes Milliyet.

After which Paris tried to exert pressure on Turkey already on the NATO platform, the article says. What results will the NATO investigation of this incident give and how much it will ease the tension is still unknown. But the fact that two members of the alliance were almost on the verge of an armed conflict is alarming, the author emphasizes: “This is not the first and not the only case that makes one say about NATO:“ What is this alliance? ”

Of course, members of this organization may have different views on certain issues, given the democratic structure of NATO – and even despite different interests and opinions, on the whole they most often manage to come to a consensus, the article says. But recently, Turkey’s fundamental differences and disputes with some NATO allies have actually grown into quarrels and even pose a risk of conflict, Milliyet emphasizes.

In particular, a “verbal duel” has also flared up in relations with Greece and tension is growing, the article says: “The language and style that are used in this case give the impression that we are not talking about two allies, but about two hostile countries.” Against this background, “air skirmishes” over the Aegean Sea became a frequent occurrence – as a manifestation of a mutual demonstration of power in the air and at sea between Turkey and Greece, the author states. This also increases the risk of local conflict.

The origins of these disputes lie in the fact that Turkey, as a result of recent diplomatic and military moves undertaken, makes other countries feel their presence and role in a vast region, from the Middle East to the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, is emphasized in the article. And this causes some discontent.

For example, France is a country with which Ankara has historically developed a very long-standing relationship and friendship, writes Milliyet. However, the basis of the current tension is the confrontation that arose due to differences of interests. The French are also actively trying to “assert themselves” and maintain their influence and role in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, especially in Lebanon and Syria, explained in the article: “From the point of view of Paris, this is a geostrategic field of activity of France, which covers Africa.” And in this context, Turkish politics, of course, is seen as competition, the author notes.

The question is how Turkey should avoid disputes and conflicts in relations with those NATO allies with whom it competes in the field of geopolitical interests. According to the author, the behavior of France and Greece clearly shows that these countries do not want to reckon with the existence of a “new Turkey” and do not seek to ensure harmony and balance between their interests and those of Ankara, while trying to even “indicate” Turkey so that it knows its a place.

At the same time, Ankara, which seeks to actively defend its new interests and zones of influence, often runs the risk of confrontation. This causes new friction, as a result of which compromise is complicated, the article emphasizes. To resolve these differences and eliminate tensions, NATO members should reconcile interests through “dialogue between competing allies and developing realistic policies on this basis,” Milliyet concludes.

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