West counts on Turkey

West counts on Turkey

The 12th meeting of the International Discussion Club ‘Valdai’ finished in Sochi on Thursday. On the sidelines of the event, Vestnik Kavkaza talked to a number of international experts, who spoke about the current agenda of bilateral relations between Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Thus the former ambassador of Germany to Russia, Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz, stressed that Turkey, like Germany, is a member of NATO, and added that Turkey is a good friend and ally of Berlin. He also spoke about the relations between Turkey and the European Union as a whole. "Turkey has been in negotiations on accession to the EU for several years. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has just visited Ankara and supported the intensification of this kind of negotiations. We have a very special relationship with Turkey in view of the fact that Germany is home to a lot of Turks. Many people have come as guests and are now living here in the third generation," Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz concluded.

In turn, the President of the World Academy of Citizenship, Hakan Altynay, recalled that the United States and Turkey have been partners in the North Atlantic Alliance for a very long time, and also noted that Ankara puts forward its ideas for policy in the Middle East.

The Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at Harvard, Timothy Colton, said that Turkey is a very important member of NATO, and added that Ankara, headed by its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is confident that the country will find its way, pursues an independent policy. "The US and Turkey have been cooperating closely in the military field since 1950. At the moment, the two states have some tensions. In particular, since approximately 2012-2013.Ankara has been unhappy that the US does not allow it to become a leader in the Syrian issue, including a ban on flights and things like that," he said.

According to the professor of the ODTU University, Hüseyin Bagdji, today Turkish-American relations are very important. "The countries share common views on a solution to the Syrian conflict. Both countries have very close ties in the economic, military and political spheres. So I do not think that Turkey will come out of the orbit of the United States, and the country will do its best to maintain good relations with the Americans," Bagdji concluded.

In turn, the former Austrian Federal Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, said that there is no problem between Vienna and Ankara. "Over time, we were able to build a strategic partnership between Turkey and the EU through negotiations. We are the only country that was honest with the Turks, when they tried to enter the European Union. At that time, Erdogan was prime minister, he is now the president, and he appreciated that we were honest with him,’’ Schüssel said.

In addition, he noted that to date, the biggest problem is refugees, and in this regard, Turkey is a key partner for Austria. "We hope that Turkey will help to slow down and stop the uncontrolled flow of refugees to Austria and to Europe as a whole," the ex-Chancellor of Austria summed up.

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