NATO views countries of the South Caucasus as potential partners: Paul Stronski

Artak Barseghyan
Public Radio of Armenia

“NATO views the countries of the South Caucasus as potential partners with Georgia being an aspirant for membership. I do not see NATO membership as realistic for Georgia any time soon, however. There is no consensus in the Alliance on Georgia’s membership,” Paul Stronski, Senior Associate at Carnegie Foundation, said in an internet press conference for Armenian media.

“On Armenia, as an ally of Russia, it is firmly in Russia’s security orbit.  But, NATO will still continue to engage with Armenia and appreciates the partnership it has had with NATO throughout the past twenty years.  I’d also note that Armenian military reform is generally modeled after NATO and the United States, so there are clear incentives on the Armenian side to keep good ties with NATO despite Yerevan’s security alliance with Moscow. However, I do not see the relationship between NATO and Armenia getting any closer in the immediate future,” he said.

“I do not see any prospects for NATO membership for Armenia or Azerbaijan.  Neither country seems interested in membership.  NATO says the door is always open, but many NATO members are not keen to enlarge the alliance any further east,” he added.

Is there a possibility for exclusion of Turkey from the Alliance, considering that Turkey is playing back-door games with ISIS and in light of deterioration of relations between Ankara and Brussels?

“I am neither an expert on Turkey nor ISIS, so I cannot really answer this question.  I think many governments in the West are frustrated with Turkey right now given Erdogan’s increasing authoritarianism, and unpredictable foreign and domestic politics. But, Turkey is a long-standing and important member of the NATO alliance.  The goal of the alliance is to increase the security of its members, and I still think that most NATO members believe that Turkish membership in NATO enhances their security.  I do not see their exclusion from the alliance anytime soon,” the expert said.

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