Germany: Russia Ties Not Affecting Turkey’s Role in NATO

Germany: Russia Ties Not Affecting Turkey’s Role in NATO
Mon Aug 8, 2016 19:33:59

German officials say recent thaw in relations between Russia and Turkey cannot affect Ankara’s role in the NATO military alliance and is basically aimed at improving regional security cooperation between the two countries.

“We do not believe that the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia will have consequences for the security partnership within NATO,” said Sawsan Chebli, a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry on Monday.

Russia and Turkey began to mend ties last month after Ankara apologized over its downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border in November, 2015.

Russia and NATO have been at odds over an array of issues, including the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Chebli said Turkey would remain “an important partner within NATO,” adding that both Ankara and Moscow need to communicate given the situation in the Middle East. She also said the two countries have a major role in ending the war in Syria.

The official also commented on the ongoing crackdown in Turkey over an abortive coup attempt in mid-July, saying that the German Foreign Ministry had no knowledge that Ankara tortured those accused of helping the coup attempt.

Chebli warned, however, that the potential reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey, which the government has promoted as a way of punishing the coup plotters, would mean an end to Turkey’s long struggle to join the European Union.

More than 60,000 people have been suspended from work as part of the coup crackdown in Turkey. The government has largely ignored international calls for stopping the extensive dismissals and arrest of people who were allegedly linked to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the coup attempt. Gulen has dismissed the allegation.

S/SH 11

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