For most of its 60 years as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey has been content with a supporting role. But now, with Ankara feeling increasingly confident, Turkish authorities are flexing their diplomatic and economic muscles within the Atlantic Alliance.
Turkey’s bid for greater heft can be seen in its objection to an invitation for two senior European Union officials to NATO’s May 20-21 summit in Chicago. Like all NATO members, Turkey has veto power over the guest list for the military alliance’s meetings. Ankara’s frustration with what it perceives as double-dealing by the European Union with NATO prompted it to push back against Chicago summit invites for José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU’s senior policy body, and for Herman van Rompoy, president of the European Council, a club of the 27 EU chiefs-of-state.
"Many countries, including Turkey, have questions and wonder why the two EU chiefs are invited, while the NATO Secretary General [Anders Fogh Rasmussen] is not invited to EU summits," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal told EurasiaNet.org.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.