Turkey lifts NATO veto over Israel
A US marine is seen at a joint drill with Israeli and Turkish navy in 1998.Turkey partially lifted its veto on Israel’s participation in NATO partnership programs, in response to some NATO members’ lifting of vetoes on partnership activities with Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and countries in the Balkans and Caucasus, diplomatic sources have said.
Despite their unresolved disputes, Turkey lifted its blockade on Israel’s participation in non-military NATO activities in 2013, such as meetings and workshops. The reconciliation was initiated by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a recent meeting of NATO foreign ministers two weeks ago in Brussels.
However, Turkey stressed that Turkish and Israeli soldiers would never encounter each other during any NATO activities.
As retaliation against Turkey’s veto of Israel in cooperation mechanisms within NATO, some members of the Alliance excluded other partnership countries from similar mechanisms in 2012. Turkey vetoed Israeli participation in joint air drills in Konya last year, as well as Israel’s participation in a May 2012 NATO summit held in Chicago.
Turkey says unless Israel issues a formal apology for the killing of nine Turks in a raid on the Mavi Marmara ship in 2012, pays compensation to the families of the victims and lifts a blockade on the Gaza Strip, Ankara will continue to block Israel’s participation in any NATO activity.