Report: Turkey still barring Israel from major NATO exercises


From Today’s ZamanAccording to an agreement brokered by office NATO’s Secretary-General, Israel would be excluded from NATO’s major military activities, including joint exercises, for the year 2013.

The agreement, led by the initiative of NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has pleased Turkey, who has sought to prevent Israel’s involvement in NATO exercises under the Mediterranean Dialogue platform for 2013, according to diplomatic sources speaking to Today’s Zaman on Sunday. . . .

To solve the emerging rift between NATO allies, Rasmussen introduced a new formula within the organization. Israel joined the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative in 1995 with Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Egypt. Later on, Jordan and Algeria were also accepted.

Tit-for-tat vetoes between NATO allies over the agreements for next years exercises have prevented any cooperation that may assist in the integration of NATO partner states, some of whom have experienced dramatic shifts in the Arab Spring, further into the international community.

Deciding that such a deadlock would harm NATO’s reliability in the eyes of its partners in the Mediterranean Dialogue group, Rasmussen has begun a new initiative to limit Israeli participation in NATO exercises to only dialogue programs such as seminars and workshops held by the alliance, isolating it from military operations. Sources also added that Israel would be barred from participating in workshops or seminars that are to take place inside Turkey.

“The countries supporting Israel have realized Turkey’s determination, they see that their reprisal is of no use and it is only slowing down NATO activities. And with the recent decision from the secretary-general, Turkey has acquired what it wanted,” the diplomatic sources claimed. . . .

Diplomatic sources speaking to Today’s Zaman meanwhile claimed that the Israeli side forced the connection erroneously from the facts at hand, and said that Israel’s participation in a limited number of NATO programs doesn’t amount to a success for its government.  (photo: AFP)

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