Norway is endorsing Turkey membership of EU, of which Norway herself is not a member. In return, is Norway to get a seat at the Middle East peace negotiations-table again?
The latest issue of the Economist tells of how Robert Gates, the American defence secretary, has suggested that Turkey is heading east because Europe is refusing to “give Turkey the kind of organic link to the West that Turkey sought“. Is Norway trying to be that link? Let us look at evidence in support of this theory:
Friday June 25th: Parlamentarian Anette Trettebergstuen (Labor) and Ola Borten Moe (Center Party) write an op-ed to Verdens Gang (VG) titled “Turkey must join the EU“. This is interesting, not only because the op-ed verifies that Norwegian EU membership remains a non-issue, but because Anette Trettebergstuen is primarily known as a Palestine-activist. Trettebergstuen founded the “Friends of Palestine” group in Parliament and has wowed to partake in a Norwegian supply ship intended to violate the blockade on Gaza.
Sometime after June 15th and 25th, a Turkey official wrote a long op-ed praising Norway’s government in an Akersgata daily. We have so far been unable to find it. NIJ-street irregulars please assist.
June 15th: Norway FM Jonas Gahr Støre met with Turkey FM Ahmet Davutoglu. Turkey was also seated at the table during the Oslo Forum. From the JP: “The Norwegian government convened a forum of 100 statesmen, negotiators, peace mediators and journalists from around the world on Tuesday but, to the consternation of Jerusalem, did not include anyone from Israel.”
June 14th: From Today’s Zaman “Norway cooperates with Turkey on all fronts” : Calling Turkey “absolutely a key player in the Middle East,” Store praised Turkey’s proactive foreign policy in an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman ahead of a two-day official visit to Oslo by his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, which will kick off today.
June 3rd: Fafo, a major think tank affiliated with LO (and by extension Labor), claims in an op-ed in Dagbladet that Israel’s enforcement of the blockade of Hamas-run Gaza is equivalent with a declaration of war upon Turkey, a fellow NATO member.
We also see that our government is developing relations with Saudi-Arabia, ostensibly over CO2 filtering, and that Saudi-Arabia is to set up an embassy in Oslo. The CO2 issue does not sound too convincing, seeing as how the government recently accepted a costly PR defeat on the issue of CO2-cleansing of the Mongstad industrial site. If the government was serious about CO2 filtering, it would not have scrapped the Mongstad project.
The position as “Palestine-champion” has recently been slipping away from Egypt and Saudi-Arabia and into the hands of Turkey and Iran. If Norway can coax Turkey back into the fold, perhaps the Palestinians can be persuaded to turn their backs on Iran?