NATO officially announced today that Israel will not participate in a Chicago summit later this month, though it denied Turkey was the cause.
Previously, media reported Turkey vetoed the Jewish state from partaking, due to 2010’s flotilla scandal, which resulted in the death of Turkish nationals. The US and other NATO members were reportedly pressuring Turkey to remove its veto, which according to alliance regulations would mean a virtual blockade from participation.
Now, NATO officials say Israel does not take part in military missions, causing its lack of invitation to the summit.
"Israel has not been invited to attend the summit because Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR ... no one has blocked an invitation because it's not been an issue," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, referring to the acronyms for coalition groups in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Missions in those two locations are reportedly on the menu of discussion at the summit.
The idea that Turkey had vetoed Israel’s presence at the event started after Turkish officials publically expressed opposition to the Jewish state’s presumed participation.
The US’ Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, said Israel is an “important partner of NATO, certainly an important ally of the United States….But the Chicago summit was never going to have a meeting of every single one of those partnerships, simply as a matter of logistics and time.”
He added: “What is accurate…is that the Turkey-Israel relationship is fraught, which we deeply regret.”
Meanwhile, police in Chicago are gearing up security forces for a planned protest outside the summit. Anti-war campaigners and Occupy groups are expected to demonstrate.