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

kurd-s-lawyer-attempts-preventing-croatia-s-extradition-01-22-2018
23 Jan 18

Kurd Looks to Croatian Court to Stop Extradition

The lawyer for a Kurdish activist trying to avoid extradition from Croatia to Turkey told BIRN that the case was now before the Constitutional Court.

european-court-asks-croatia-on-potential-kurd-extradition-01-19-2018
19 Jan 18

European Court Quizzes Croatia On Kurd's Extradition

The European Court of Human Rights has told Croatia to report back on the case of Kurd who risks deportation to Turkey, despite having obtained political asylum status in Switzerland.

croatian-president-asks-for-erdogan-s-help-over-bosnia-01-09-2018
09 Jan 18

Croatian President Seeks Erdogan's Help Over Bosnia

On a visit to Ankara, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will seek Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support for Bosnian Croats’ plan to change Bosnia’s electoral law to give them more political power.

albania-nationalists-destroy-turkish-flag-on-turkish-owned-hydropower-plant-01-05-2018
05 Jan 18

Albania Probes Protesters Who Tore Down Turkish Flag

Albanian police say they are investigating several dozen protesters who removed a Turkish flag from a Turkish-owned power plant in the north of the country.

kosovo-withdraws-the-extradition-request-of-a-turkish-educator-12-14-2017
14 Dec 17

Kosovo Extradition of Wanted Turkish ‘Gulenist’ Suspended

Kosovo’s prosecution withdrew its request to a Pristina court to allow the extradition of Ugur Toksoy, a teacher wanted by Turkey for alleged links to the so-called Gulen movement, suspending the procedure.

albania-to-face-turkish-request-to-extradite-gulen-supporter-10-13-2017
13 Oct 17

Turkey Presses Albania To Extradite Key 'Gulenist' Suspect

Albania is under pressure to deport a 39-year-old detained in Durres, who Turkish media link with a Twitter account that infuriated Ankara with its leaks of state secrets.

high-security-measures-follows-erdogan-s-visit-to-serbia-10-09-2017
10 Oct 17

Tight Security Surrounds Turkey's Erdogan in Serbia

Serbian and Turkish police are pulling out all the stops for the high-profile visit to Serbia of Turkey's head of state.

trade-takes-centre-stage-in-erdogan-s-serbia-visit-10-09-2017
09 Oct 17

Trade Takes Centre Stage in Erdogan’s Serbia Visit

Economic ties, tourism and major infrastructure projects will be in focus during this week’s visit to Serbia of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

macedonian-fined-for-offending-erdogan-on-facebook-08-25-2017
25 Aug 17

Macedonian Fined for Offending Erdogan on Facebook

In an unusual and potentially disturbing verdict, a court in Skopje has fined a Macedonian citizen for offending Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Facebook.

frozen-turkish-funding-leaves-bulgarian-imams-without-pay-08-10-2017
11 Aug 17

Frozen Turkish Funding Leaves Bulgarian Imams Without Pay

Bulgaria’s around 600 imams have been left without money for salaries since the country allegedly cancelled a funding agreement for Islamic education with Turkey, Bulgarian Grand Mufti’s Office says.