NATO chief slams EU over 'unfair' Turkish treatment
COPENHAGEN — Agence France-Presse | 7/7/2010 12:00:00 AM |
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen criticized the European Union on Wednesday for what he called its 'unfair' treatment of Turkey.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen criticized the European Union on Wednesday for what he called its "unfair" treatment of Turkey, writing in the Danish center-left daily Politiken.
The NATO secretary-general advised the EU to "take a series of pragmatic steps to improve relations with Turkey, entirely outside the negotiations" between Ankara and Brussels over Turkey's membership to the bloc.
In particular, the former Danish prime minister urged the EU to give Turkey more of a role in decision-making for military missions it was involved in, and come to an agreement on Turkey's request to join the European Defense Agency.
Rasmussen said it was "unfair" to exclude Turkey from the military research and development body, pointing out that Norway was involved even though like Turkey it was a NATO member but not an EU member.
"This is not reasonable," he said, appealing to the EU to "send out a clear message" to Turkey regarding its role in the West.
Maintaining a close partnership with Turkey was important, Rasmussen said, "not only as a valued NATO ally, but also with the EU."
EU-NATO relations have been dogged for years by the Turkey-Cyprus issue, and the lack of enthusiasm on the part of many European countries since 2005 for Turkey's accession to the Union.