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

nationalists-block-bulgaria-s-border-checkpoints-with-turkey-03-21-2017
21 Mar 17

Nationalists Block Bulgaria’s Border Checkpoints with Turkey

The nationalist United Patriots coalition blocked key checkpoints at the Bulgarian-Turkish border to prevent what it called ‘electoral tourism’ by Bulgarian Turks loyal to Ankara ahead of Sunday’s polls.

expert-downplays-turkish-threat-to-unleash-refuge-flood-03-17-2017
17 Mar 17

Turkish Threat to Scrap EU Refugee Deal Questioned

Minister’s threat to scrap readmission deal with EU and send thousands of refugees there each month deemed a ‘War of Words’.

turks-hold-protests-in-sarajevo-send-eu-message-03-13-2017
13 Mar 17

Pro-Erdogan Turks Hold Anti-EU Protest in Sarajevo

The protest in Sarajevo showed how tensions between Turkey and EU states over bans on rallies in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could spill over into the Balkans, experts said.

students-shocked-over-scrapping-of-macedonia-turkey-diploma-deal-01-23-2017
24 Jan 17

Turkey Scraps Diploma Deal With Macedonia

Turkey has scrapped a bilateral diploma acceptance deal with Macedonia after the authorities in Skopje failed to close schools and organisations suspected of links to alleged coup plotter Fethullah Gulen.

thaci-in-turkey-12-30-2016
30 Dec 16

Thaci Firms up Kosovo's Alliance With Turkey

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara to again confirm the strong ties between Pristina and Ankara.

turkey-ponders-aftermath-of-blasts-that-killed-38-12-11-2016
11 Dec 16

Turkey Ponders Aftermath of Blasts that Killed 38

Turkish experts and citizens are pondering the security and political implications of the latest terror attacks that killed 38 in Istanbul for which Kurdish militants have claimed responsibility.

turkey-stands-at-crossroads-over-eu-path-11-24-2016
25 Nov 16

Turkey Stands at Crossroads Over EU Path

An expert on EU-Turkey relations says Ankara faces a stark choice on whether to engage again with Brussels, or openly turn its back on EU and European values.

turkey-dismisses-eu-vote-to-freeze-accession-talks-11-24-2016
24 Nov 16

Turkey Dismisses EU Vote to Freeze Accession Talks

After European Parliamentarians called for freeze to EU membership talks with Turkey, a Turkish minister called the decision ‘not serious’.

media-claim-turkish-attaches-seek-asylum-in-croatia-11-23-2016
23 Nov 16

Croatia Media Claim Turkish Attaches Sought Asylum

Media reports claim two former Turkish military attaches applied for a political asylum in Croatia following the failed coup there in July - amid continuing speculation about why the former ambassador was withdrawn.

balkan-states-reforming-at-different-paces-brussels-says-11-09-2016
09 Nov 16

Balkan States ‘Reforming, at Different Paces’, Brussels Says

The latest European Commission reports suggest most Balkan countries, bar Turkey and Macedonia, are broadly moving in the direction of reform – but big issues over corruption, the rule of law, media freedom and minorities remain.