French face-saving measure breaks NATO impasse over aid to Turkey
A resolution to end the worst rift in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was reached Sunday, February 16, following a discordant debate over Turkey’s request to grant it defensive assistance in the event of war with Iraq. NATO members have finally decided to begin sending military hardware to Turkey without delay.
In a move that threatened to break up the 54-year alliance, France, Belgium and Germany—who oppose any US-led military strike against Iraq—refused to provide military aid to Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member. The three opted to dodge their commitment to the defense of an ally arguing that deploying military forces to protect Turkey would thwart attempts to work out a peaceful solution on Iraq.
The 19-member alliance eventually arrived at a somewhat technical compromise to the deadlock by referring the decision to the alliance’s Defense Planning Committee (DPC), of which France is not a member. Late Sunday, Belgium and Germany dropped their objections to sending aid.
“Alliance solidarity has prevailed,” concluded NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. “We agree on substance, we agree on timing and we agree on how to integrate our collective solidarity with Turkey in the wider context.” —(Albawaba,com)