From Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle, the New York Times: NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, expressed disquiet on Friday about tensions over natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean between a newly assertive Turkey and Cyprus, as well as Turkey’s strained relations with Israel, saying that they were both “a matter of concern. . . .”
“Obviously the tensions between Turkey and Israel are a matter of concern,” he said in an interview here. “It’s a bilateral issue, NATO is not going to interfere with that,” he added, “but it is the interest of the alliance to see these tensions eased, because Turkey is a key ally and Israel is a valuable partner for the alliance.” Turkey has become increasingly outspoken in support of the Palestinians and in its animosity toward Israel, once an important ally. Mr. Rasmussen emphasized that NATO, as an alliance that works by consensus, would not become involved in bilateral matters or the domestic politics of member countries.
Asked about Turkey’s warning that it might send military ships toward Cyprus, which is exploring for natural gas in the Mediterranean, as is Israel, Mr. Rasmussen said that “NATO as an organization is not going to interfere with these disputes,” while adding, “I do not envisage armed conflict in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.” (photo: Reuters)