18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

Turkey pushed for Pakistani participation in NATO summit

16 May 2012, Wednesday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
Turkey has pushed for Pakistan's participation in a NATO summit on Afghanistan, paving the way for an invitation from the alliance to Islamabad to join the upcoming meeting, a Turkish official said on Wednesday.

NATO invited Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to its upcoming summit in Chicago, a development that has raised hopes that Pakistan may be ready to re-open its border to US and NATO military supplies dispatched to neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed its border after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in US air strikes on the Afghan border in November. The incident further strained Pakistani-US ties amid accusations in the US that Pakistan supports Taliban militants in Afghanistan. A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington confirmed on Tuesday that Zardari will attend the May 20-21 summit.

Turkey has close ties with both Afghan and Pakistani governments and has spearheaded efforts for peace between the two countries, whose ties are often strained due to Afghan mistrust that Pakistan supports the Taliban.

Afghanistan is one of the main agenda items for NATO's Chicago summit, where alliance members will further discuss plans to withdraw most of their troops by the end of 2014. Member states are expected to discuss ways to continue supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014, following the end of NATO's peacekeeping mission there.

The Turkish official speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity said Turkey will continue supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014 through a military training mission. Turkey is determined to continue the training mission with or without NATO, the official said.

Gül, Hollande to have first meeting at NATO summit

The official also confirmed that President Abdullah Gül, who will represent Turkey at the summit, will have his first talks with François Hollande, France's newly elected president.

Turkey hopes that Hollande's election victory against his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, might pave the way for a revival of its stalled bid to join the EU. Sarkozy, a staunch opponent of Turkish accession, blocked accession negotiations on five chapters that Paris says are directly related to accession. Turkish and European diplomats now expect that the French blockade may now be lifted since Hollande is known to have a more favorable view of Turkish membership than Sarkozy.

The NATO summit is also expected to tackle the crisis in Syria, according to the diplomat. Responding to questions, the official said Turkey had no plans to invoke the “collective defense” clause, Article 5 of the NATO charter, over a recent border incident in which two Turkish nationals were injured during a border clash with opposition forces. This is because there is no threat from Syria to Turkey that should be dealt with under Article 5. But the official said there are consultations among NATO members regarding the crisis under Article 4.

The official also said a Turkish general is expected to be appointed to a command center for NATO's ballistic missile defense system. The alliance is expected to announce an “interim” missile defense capacity during the Chicago summit.

DIPLOMACY  Other Titles
KKTC pushing for Cyprus deal before end of this year
MEPs question EU Commission over EU funds to Turkey
Greece rejects extradition of leading DHKP/C member
Pro-gov't dailies report conflicting news on leaked audio on Syria
US warns against damage to ties over recurring media claims
KRG's Barzani visits Ankara for talks with Erdoğan
Villagers file suit against ministry over stray bullets from Syria
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Turkey says deeply concerned over events in Ukraine
Chinese deputy foreign minister in Ankara for inter-delegation meeting
‘Turkey will not remain silent over 'genocide resolution' if adopted’
Russia welcomes Turkey's assurances on observance of Montreux terms
Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objections
US looks to Turkey to uphold checks and balances
Dubai may be a hub for Turkey and Iran's illicit transactions
US House Speaker meets senior Turkish officials in Ankara
EU Minister Çavuşoğlu says Füle's comments on Turkey ‘balanced'
US Ambassador Ricciardone has talks with AK Party officials
Turkey's honorary consuls meet to discuss foreign policy
Iran to build cultural center in the heart of İstanbul
Loğoğlu: No Turkish institution in US works against Turkey
Erdoğan will further polarize Turkey as presidential election approaches
European Union concerned about rule of law in Turkey
Turkey seeks to restore dialogue with Serbia with FM's visit
Turkish Rights groups slam Egypt over execution ruling