Turkey Backs NATO Expansion and Georgia

“We support NATO expansion,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a statement on the future of the Alliance.

“Currently, there are four candidate countries: Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Georgia. We want the 2016 NATO summit to offer the aim of expansion,” the Turkish diplomat said. “Yesterday I exchanged information with US State Secretary John Kerry about Russia and Afghanistan’s operations. We discussed plans too,” he continued.

“The next NATO summit is more than a year away. Several days ago, the President of Georgia held a meeting with NATO’s Secretary General in Brussels. Naturally, we need to start thinking about the upcoming Warsaw summit in terms of what Georgia can do to receive international support there and how to consolidate this support,” added Tengiz Pkhaladze, Advisor to the Georgian President. “However, I would like to refrain from making predictions, since neither the summit agenda nor the topic of enlargement have been elaborated yet,” he added.

European and American parties have put the issue of NATO enlargement on the agenda as Russia has been openly involved in war against Ukraine, forcedly annexing sovereign territories of a European country. There is some speculation in the region that this is the first phase of a process of a new Cold War.

As for raising the issue of Georgia on the international level, the process is highly reliant on the Georgian government’s willingness and pro-active politics, from which the Georgian Dream government has long refrained. Moreover, some high ranking Georgian diplomats have claimed that after the Georgian government was peacefully changed in 2012 it was conceivable for Georgia to receive a Membership Action Plan (MAP), if rational steps were made.

At this very moment, Georgia, which has lifted itself from political marshland to a top reformer country in the region – has now weakened its international standing as the new governmental policy regarding Russia, appears to have brought confusion among its Western allies.

At the same time, some NATO officials say there are political decisions to be made about granting Georgia a MAP or membership, something which Russia has always strongly opposed. In this regard, major European players, such as France and Germany were reluctant to commit to Georgia’s membership.

According to Defense and Security Committee Chairman Irakli Sesiashvili, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has called on NATO member states’ governments and parliaments to grant Georgia a Membership Action Plan – the next step for NATO integration. The decision was made at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 60th session, which was held in Budapest on May 15-18. 

“The NATO Parliamentary Assembly declaration includes an important point, in which the Parliamentary Assembly calls on NATO governments and parliaments to continue to support implementation of the NATO-Georgia’s substantial package and to grant Georgia the Membership Action Plan in accordance with the 2008 Bucharest summit decision,” Sesiashvili said. 

Zviad Adzinbaia

23 May 2015 12:27