CHP against Israel thaw due to concerns about possible NATO membership

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
ANKARA
Published 17.08.2016 21:07

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is not in favor of a Turkish-Israeli normalization deal due to concerns that the deal could pave the way for full Israeli membership in NATO.

On Wednesday, the government sent the Turkish-Israeli normalization agreement that was signed in Rome on June 27 to Parliament and it is expected to be discussed and ratified in Parliament in the coming days. Prior to this, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited opposition parties the CHP and the National Movement Party (MHP) on Monday to discuss details about the historic deal that will restore Turkish-Israeli relations after a six-year rift. According to sources from CHP headquarter in Ankara, the CHP administration has discussed the details of the agreement and reached the conclusion that the agreement is not in Turkey's favor. Sources indicated that the CHP administration has serious concerns about the deal in several areas. The CHP believes that Israeli-Turkish energy agreements that will lead to the transportation of Leviathan gas reserves to Turkey and Europe will only help Israel. The CHP also believes that by accepting the deal, Turkey will acknowledge the continuation of the Gazan embargo. In accordance with the agreement, Turkey will drop the charges against Israeli officers, which, according to sources, the CHP is also against it. More surprisingly, the CHP administration believes that that Turkish-Israeli normalization deal may pave the way for Israel's full NATO membership and expressed its concern, CHP sources said.

In June, Turkey lifted its veto on cooperation between Israel and NATO, which would allow Israel to open an office at the organization's headquarters and undertake the process of submitting its credentials to the Western alliance.

On June 28, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the Turkish-Israeli normalization deal. Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu said the agreement signed between Turkey and Israel is a submission agreement for Turkey and claimed it only favored Israel. He said that Israel has not made an official apology yet, and should write a written apology to Turkey. Kılıçdaroğlu also claimed that the agreement meant Turkey is paving the way for Israel's membership in the NATO military alliance.

Israel is currently a partner in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, along with six other countries: Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

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