Growing NATO Infighting Over Mediterranean Policies

Turkey, European Nations Split Starkly on Plans

by Jason Ditz, June 16, 2016

Everyone in NATO seems more or less united on buildups along the Russian frontier in the Baltic, but this week’s discussions on policy in the Mediterranean Sea are nowhere near as simple, with a lot of the big questions divided sharply between Turkey and European member nations.

One of the big ongoing operations in the area is in the Aegean Sea, where NATO ships are trying to keep refugees from trying to cross from Turkey into Greece. Turkey, which isn’t thrilled with being stuck with all the refugees, isn’t keen on keeping them from leaving.

Meanwhile, while NATO is always eager to “deter” Russia, a lot of European nations aren’t very happy with Turkey, what with the shooting down of a Russian plane over Syria and the constant bellicose talk of war with Russia out of their government.

There’s a second divide too, between north and south Europe, over the question of doing more to block refugees from Northern Africa, with northern Europe mostly united in not wanting any more refugees, and nations like France, Italy, and Spain, who all have significant North African populations already, fearing that the new effort would alienate them and make them more vulnerable to ISIS recruitment.

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