Turkey defends Belarus and Russia; NATO is powerless again

BRUSSELS, (BM) – Turkey disagrees with the deviation of the route of Ryanair’s plane from the Belarusian government and condemns the actions of Minsk, and … that’s it.

Today, NATO had to come up with a common sharp stance against the actions of the Belarusian government in the person of President Alexander Lukashenko and the detention of Belarusian freelance journalist and blogger Roman Protasevich after the plane in which he was traveling from Greece to Lithuania in Minsk under the pretext of a bomb threat. We remind that only a few days ago, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg strongly objected to the Belarusian actions, likening the measures as “state kidnapping” and “scandalous.”

Three NATO members (Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia) insisted on a much stricter wording of the NATO Joint Declaration, but this did not happen because of Turkey.

Turkey has insisted on no mention of “support for Western sanctions” and calls for political prisoners in Belarus. The text, which threatened to suspend any cooperation between NATO and Belarus, was also removed at Ankara’s insistence.

Why did Turkey make this move?

Many political analysts are pushing different versions, but they all lead to Moscow. Turkey is trying to strengthen its relations with Russia (Belarus’ closest ally) and guarantee regular Turkish Airlines flights to Minsk.

Another reason circulating among political circles and lobbies among NATO member states is the epidemic situation due to KOVID-19 in 2020 and the pandemic, which posed severe challenges to tourism and the Turkish economy. Perhaps with this move, Erdogan hopes to save the tourist season with Russian tourists, some experts say.

Journalists have asked NATO why the alliance has signed a declaration that is nothing more than a formal statement. The answer was that all NATO members had signed the statement and would not comment on the reasons for changing the texts.

Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia are upset

This is the softest statement about the expectations of the three countries, which hoped that Belarus would receive a “sound slap” from the North Atlantic Alliance. This did not happen again.

“Many allies were very frustrated with Turkey. It was important for NATO to respond, and it is not clear why Ankara should want to defend (Belarusian President Alexander) Lukashenko,” said a European diplomat present at the discussion.

In recent years, Turkey has become a problematic interlocutor on similar political issues and military ones. We remind you that Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense system was the beginning of the deterioration of relations between the United States and Turkey. But even in this situation, NATO has shown that it cannot be united in its decision-making. Some countries condemned Ankara’s actions in making the purchase, others did not, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg himself said in an interview, “It’s not good, but each country decides from whom to buy.”

And despite the dissatisfaction of many NATO members with Turkey’s decision to seriously tarnish Belarus, this country remains very valuable to the EU and NATO, mainly because of its ideal geographical location.

Ankara has repeatedly stated that it supports NATO and has the right to pursue its sovereign foreign policy.


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