— The Erimtan Angle —

On the verge of another electoral victory for the ruling AKP, its wily PM and divisive Prez, Turkey now hosts a two-day NATO summit on the Med (13-14 May 2015): “Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO would examine all possibilities against the “Islamic State” (IS) terror militia. The ministers have gathered in Antalya to plot strategy amid the continued civil war in Ukraine and instability throughout the Middle East, including in Syria and Iraq – countries that border Turkey – where IS controls broad swaths of territory”, as reported by a mixed bag of news agencies — Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP.[1]  The report continues that “[a]n international coalition has launched airstrikes against IS since August. US Secretary of State John Kerry said his NATO counterparts wanted to see a clearer defense agreement with Gulf Arab states to fight terror ahead of a summit that President Barack Obama will host at Camp David on Thursday [, 14 May] . . . Kerry also brought news of Tuesday’s lengthy talks with President Vladimir Putin, his first visit to Russia in over two years – since well before the start of fighting in Ukraine. He called for the full implementation of the Minsk Protocol, an agreement reached in February [2015] in the capital of Belarus by the parties to Ukraine’s civil war, to finally put an end to the conflict”.[2]

Good man Kerry told gathered reporters in Antalya that “We call on Russia to stop supporting the separatists and to withdraw all its forces from eastern Ukraine . . . I think that there is strong agreement among all the NATO members that this is a critical moment for action by Russia, by the separatists to live up to the Minsk agreement. This is an enormous moment of opportunity for the conflict there to find a path to certainty and resolution”. In addition to talking to the press, ‘The US secretary of state also met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin – who is [also] attending the talks though his country is not a NATO member – and the Turkish premier, former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’.[3]  But the gathered ministers also dealt with other geographic regions, such as Afghanistan and Georgia.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, for his part, told the press that “Turkey is the only country which neighbors areas under Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq . . . This is not sustainable, and a big threat to Turkey. The summit will be an opportunity to share these views”.[4]  While, speaking in very Brzezinski-like terms, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said that there is an “arc of instability” surrounding NATO territories in the east and south . . . that the “maybe failed state of Libya” acts as a funnel for illegal immigration from states such as northern Nigeria, Mali, Niger and Somalia, and literally saying that “You’ve got, to the east, to the southeast and to the south, pretty fundamental security challenges for NATO”.[5]

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council with Resolute Support Operational Partner Nations and Potential Operational Partner Nations. Foreign Ministers Meeting, Antalya, Turkey – 13 MAY 2015.

[1] “NATO foreign ministers in Turkey talk ‘Islamic State'” Deutsche Welle (13 May 2015). http://www.dw.de/nato-foreign-ministers-in-turkey-talk-islamic-state/a-18447462.

[2] “NATO foreign ministers in Turkey talk ‘Islamic State'”.

[3] “NATO foreign ministers in Turkey talk ‘Islamic State'”.

[4] “Focus on Islamic State and Libya as NATO foreign ministers meet” Reuters (12 May 2015). http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/12/us-nato-ministers-idUSKBN0NX1SW20150512.

[5] “Focus on Islamic State and Libya as NATO foreign ministers meet”.


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