Turkey’s Foreign Minister Rejects Israel’s Presence at NATO Summit
Today, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced at a press conference that Turkey has refused to allow Israel to participate in the NATO conference scheduled to take place in Chicago on May 20. “There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters,” said Davutoglu. State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland avoided questions concerning U.S. reaction to Turkey’s comments. Jennifer Rubin says that while Obama expresses his “valiant support of Israel,” the Administration’s refusal to respond to Turkish sentiments about Israel’s participation. U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman said on Monday that the United States wanted best possible relationship between Turkey and Israel.
Meanwhile, clashes between Turkish Authorities and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in eastern Turkey resulted in the deaths of five. Earlier this month, Turkish security forces reportedly killed 15 female Kurdish militants in the Bitlis province, while rebels killed 5 government forces in the Sirnak province in the same month.
As Turkey continues to the attempt to solve the “Kurdish question”, Nick Danforth writes that Turkey’s democratization process has been slowed by their misunderstanding of how well our democracy “doesn’t work.” Danforth notes that while Turkish officials are quick to point out high-level gaffs in our democratic process, they fail to recognize “low-level dysfunction” such as “venality, the corruption, the hypocrisy, the name-calling, and the lies” that the U.S. overlooks as part of the democratic process. From this vantage point, Danforth critiques Turkish justification of its numerous military coups, attacks on freedom of speech of opposition groups, and ongoing controversial investigations.