From Servet Yanatma, Today’s ZamanAnkara says it will block EU participation in an upcoming NATO summit unless the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is also allowed to be present.

José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who are now unsure whether they will be able to attend the summit taking in Chicago on May 20-21 as representatives of the union due to the objections from Turkey, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday. Raising the EU’s commitment to a NATO peace mission in Afghanistan, EU member countries including France had argued that the EU should be represented, while Turkey is maintaining that there should only be member state participation in the summit, the WSJ claimed.

“If non-NATO members will also participate, the OIC should be represented [in the Chicago summit] first and foremost,” Turkish diplomatic sources said in explaining Ankara’s position, speaking to Today’s Zaman on Sunday. The sources claimed that the OIC’s commitment exceeded the EU contribution in the Afghanistan peace mission. . . .

The Turkish diplomatic sources also noted that the different proposals coming from NATO members on who will participate are still being discussed and there is not an ultimate decision yet. They added that there are also objections from other non-EU NATO members to the proposed EU participation in the Chicago summit.

The background to Turkey’s objection to EU participation in NATO activities involves a more long-standing dispute. Greek Cyprus, representing the entire island as a full member of the EU, blocks Turkish participation in European defense institutions such as the European Defense Agency (EDA). Turkey, a NATO member, has responded by obstructing the EU’s integration in NATO activities.

Turkey has also blocked Israel’s participation in the summit in a sign of Turkey’s determination to prevent its new foe from cooperating with the alliance following a deadly ship raid.

From Stephen Fidler, the Wall Street Journal:  [T]here’s a diplomatic glitch at NATO that means the presidents [Barroso and Van Rompuy] can’t be sure of the Chicago leg of their trip. At issue is the momentous question of whether they should be present at that part of the summit involving NATO’s partners in Afghanistan.

The dispute in some ways is on familiar lines, given Turkey’s difficult relationship with the EU. Diplomats say Turkey doesn’t want them at that part of the summit, arguing only nations should be present. Other NATO members, such as France, argue the EU’s role in Afghanistan means the bloc should be represented.  (photo: