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Merkel's Plan in Acute Danger: Turkey Rejects NATO Ships in Aegean Sea

© AFP 2023 / ARIS MESSINISRefugees and migrants on a dinghy approach Mytilene on the northern island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on February 19, 2016
Refugees and migrants on a dinghy approach Mytilene on the northern island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on February 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
Turkey has put unexpected obstacles in Angela Merkel's way with regard to cooperation with NATO and the recent military campaign in Aegean Sea.

Earlier, NATO deployed warships in the area to control the growing influx of migrants, but Turkey doesn't want any NATO military vehicles in Turkish territorial waters, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) wrote.

"This indicates that Erdogan is completely getting out of control of Americans and NATO in general. Of course, he doesn't want a close monitoring at the border zone, in the waters adjacent to the territory of Turkey and Greece, because there is an entire business there, involving the Turkish authorities, aimed at smuggling refugees from Turkey to the Greek islands," Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia, Semen Bagdasarov, told Sputnik.

NATO's ship Bonn en route to the Aegean Sea. - Sputnik International
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According to Bagdasarov, Erdogan also wants to demonstrate his offense about the fact that NATO has not actively stood up for him in the context of the confrontation with Russia. However, such disagreements between NATO and Turkey would not lead to any serious consequences like Turkey's exclusion from NATO because Ankara continues to play an important strategic role within the military alliance, the expert argued.

Earlier, a senior diplomat told DWN under condition of anonymity that Turkey shows no or little enthusiasm to implement the military part of Merkel's plan. The situation in the Aegean Sea will now depend on the outcome of further negotiations between the Germans and Turks.

"Germany wants to deploy forces in Turkish waters, but the Turks have rejected this [plan]," the diplomat said.

Refugees and migrants arrive on a dinghy at the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on February 18, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The part of the agreement that provides for refugees arriving on boards to be returned to Turkey has also caused significant problems, the diplomat said, adding that Turkey has shown "little or no enthusiasm" to implement the agreement into practice.

However, Ankara has denied claims that it had refused to allow NATO ships enter its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to monitor networks of migrant smugglers operating between Turkey and Greece, Turkish media reported Wednesday.

"We don't consider it necessary to respond to information from an unknown source. Obviously, it is fabricated and, most likely, intended to incite. The work to ensure [the conditions] for NATO to carry out this type of activity is continuing as planned," a diplomatic source told the Hurriyet newspaper.

Earlier, NATO started a mission to counter criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe across the Aegean Sea. The military campaign is aimed at curbing the influx of migrants into Europe from the Middle East.

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