Home Page
21 May 12

Turkish Support for Macedonia's NATO Bid Riles Greece

As Turkey contemplates raising Macedonia’s NATO accession bid at the alliance's Chicago summit, Greek remains adamant that it will block any attempt to force its hand.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic BIRN Skopje

Photo by: nato.int

As a two-day NATO summit starts in Chicago on Sunday, top NATO officials have already said that enlargement to include would-be member Macedonia will not be on the agenda.

But while Greece remains adamant that Macedonia cannot be allowed in until they have solved the dispute over the country's name, Ankara is also contemplating flexing its muscles.

Turkish parliamentary Speaker Cemil Cicek who this week visited Macedonia said that his country might exert pressure on the Macedonian issue at the summit.

Asked in Skopje whether Turkey would raise the issue in Chicago, Cicek said that the presidents of both Macedonia and Turkey were expected to attend the event and meet.
 "They are going to do what they need to do," Cicek answered cautiously.

Turkey is seen as an important supporter of Macedonia in the region. "We give you our support and will keep on doing so," Cicek said.

"We believe that Macedonia's membership bid is just and at the same time contributes to peace and stability in the Balkan region," he added.

Media in both Greece and Macedonia are mulling a possible move on the issue by Turkey at the summit, suggesting it might be supported by several other NATO countries, including Slovenia, Croatia, Norway and the United Kingdom who are also seen as sympathetic to Macedonia.

The Greek newspaper To Vima cites anonymous diplomatic sources as saying that Athens does not expect any surprises at the summit. But the Greek leadership is not leaving things to chance.

According to the Greek media, this issue was discussed at a cabinet meeting of President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday, attended by top politicians including Evangelos Venizelos from the main left-wing PASOK party and Antonis Samaras from the New Democracy party.

They agreed that if Turkey or another Macedonian supporter raises the issue of the country’s accession, Greece will not hesitate to veto it again.

“We are here to prevent it [Macedonian accession] if someone wants to include that in the schedule,” Fotis Kouvelis, head of the Democratic Left Party, was cited as saying after the meeting.

In 2008 Greece blocked Macedonia’s accession at the Bucharest NATO Summit, saying that its neighbour’s use of the name “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim to its northern province of the same name. Since then, NATO has demanded a solution to the dispute before Macedonia can be invited to join.

Last December, the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruled that Greece had breached an interim deal brokered by the UN in 1995 when it blocked Macedonia’s attempt to join NATO.

However, the court did not directly order Greece to stop the blockade, as Macedonia had requested.

Both countries are engaged in long standing UN-led name talks but they have not moved forward for over a year. There have been only few meetings between the two parties but they have been viewed as nothing more than exchanges of pleasantries.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

News

no-mention-of-enlargement-in-juncker-s-state-of-the-union-address-raises-concerns-09-14-2016
14 Sep 16

Juncker’s Silence on Enlargement Alarms Balkan Watchers

The decision of the European Commission President not to mention EU enlargement in his annual speech has left Balkan observers feeling concerned and disappointed.

turkey-demands-visa-free-travel-in-eu-in-talks-with-bulgarian-pm-08-26-2016
26 Aug 16

Turkey Sets Visa-Free Deadline for EU

The Turkish PM told his Bulgarian counterpart to pass on the message that the EU must drop visa requirements for Turkish citizens in October if Brussels wants to send back migrants to Turkey as agreed.

bulgaria-s-borissov-meets-turkish-pm-to-seek-partnership-on-migration-08-25-2016
26 Aug 16

Bulgarian, Turkish Premiers Seek Solutions on Migrants

The prime ministers of Bulgaria and Turkey, Boyko Borissov and Binali Yildirim, are meeting on Friday in Istanbul to discuss joint solutions to the continuing migration crisis.

macedonia-hints-closing-gulen-organizations-upon-turkish-request-08-25-2016
25 Aug 16

Macedonia May Shut Gulen-Linked Turkish Schools

Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki hinted that the government might have agreed to Turkey's request to close schools and organisations with suspected links to alleged coup plot leader Fethullah Gulen.

bulgarians-outraged-at-deportation-of-a-gulen-supporter-to-turkey-08-15-2016
16 Aug 16

Bulgarians Outraged at Deportation of Gulen Supporter to Turkey

Bulgaria’s extradition to Turkey of Abdullah Buyuk, a supporter of cleric Fethullah Gulen, is sparking outrage for a perceived capitulation to the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan regime.

russian-turkish-presidents-meet-to-reset-relations-08-09-2016
09 Aug 16

Russian, Turkish Presidents Meet to ‘Reset’ Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an attempt to restore stronger ties after relations with the West were strained by Turkey’s post-coup crackdown.

us-military-chief-visits-turkey-to-ease-tensions-08-02-2016
02 Aug 16

US Military Chief Visits Turkey to Ease Tensions

Top US military official Joseph Dunford made an unexpected two-day visit to Turkey in what local experts believe is an attempt to improve strained relations after the recent failed coup.

kosovo-top-officials-snub-turkey-s-allegations-on-journalist-07-27-2016
27 Jul 16

Kosovo Snubs Turkish Demand to Punish Journalist

Kosovo's officials have rejected a demand from the Turkish embassy for Kosovo to punish a journalist for making satirical comments on Facebook about the failed coup.

turkey-coup-probe-turns-sight-on-mohammed-dahlan-07-27-2016
27 Jul 16

Turkey Eyes Dahlan's Role in Failed Coup

Turkish authorities say they will investigate whether Mohammed Dahlan, a Gulf-based Palestinian opposition leader with Serbian and Montenegrin citizenship, had a hand in the recent failed coup.

gulen-schools-fight-provokes-new-tensions-in-bosnia-07-26-2016
26 Jul 16

Gulen Schools Fight Provokes New Tensions in Bosnia

Row over schools operated by alleged Turkish coup leader could spark new conflicts and aggravate divisions in Bosnia according to experts.