Turkey Grows Further From Europe as EU Nations Change NATO Meeting Location

Turkey Grows Further From Europe as EU Nations Change NATO Meeting Location
Thu Jun 1, 2017 13:16:17

A number of European nations have expressed staunch opposition toward fellow NATO member Turkey's bid to host a gathering for the Western military alliance next year, according to high-ranking officials cited Wednesday in German media.

Turkey, which is also attempting to join the EU, has expressed its desire to host the 2018 NATO summit, but it has found itself at odds with other European nations over its increasingly authoritarian politics and diplomatic spats with other countries.

Though European partners informally agreed to let the NATO meeting take place in Istanbul during a separate gathering in Warsaw in 2016, according to Politico Europe, German newspaper Die Welt quoted a top NATO official as saying a group of at least 18 EU nations led by Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Canada, would veto such a motion and opt for a summit in Belgium instead.

The change of heart likely comes in response to a series of political battles between Turkey and Western European nations, especially Germany, which Turkey accuses of harboring Kurdish militant groups labeled terrorist organizations by Ankara and of granting asylum to Turkish officers fleeing accusations of their alleged involvement in a July 2016 coup attempt. The failed uprising has resulted in tens of thousands of arrests and a widespread crackdown on civil freedoms in Turkey.

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