Turkey has thrown a wrench into NATO’s plans for Finland and Sweden just when it looked like the two countries were about to join the alliance.
When asked if he thought favorably about the Nordic nations joining the alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that he did not. Erdogan compared the two countries to “guesthouses for terrorist groups.” The Turkish prime minister said on Wednesday that he expects NATO countries to “understand, appreciate, and support” Turkey’s security concerns in Ankara.
As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden officially sought to join NATO on Wednesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels. This is a disaster for Moscow, since the Ukraine crisis has led to the type of alliance expansion that Moscow invaded Ukraine to stop.
However, the inclusion of new nations needs agreement among the current members, and Ankara is the place to find it.
Despite having the group’s second-largest force, Turkey, which joined the new alliance three years after it was founded in 1949, has warned it would not back bids until its demands are addressed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the two nations of sheltering members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a violent Kurdish separatist group. As a result of its decades-long military conflict with Turkey, the United States and the European Union have labeled the PKK as a terrorist organization.
To put it another way, the crisis brought to light long-standing Turkish grievances against Western countries and NATO partners, while providing Ankara with a means of negotiating concessions.
In the struggle against Kurdish terrorists, which Ankara sees as its greatest national security danger, Turkey has complained about the lack of cooperation it has gotten from other countries. Turkish officials have accused Sweden of housing and supporting Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria, whom Ankara deems an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to Turkish official media, Ankara has also said that the two countries have not replied to extradition requests. PKK and Fetullah Gulen’s FETO, the US-based cleric who Turkey claims was behind the failed coup attempt in 2016, are among the groups that the sought persons have been linked to (an allegation Gulen denies).
On Tuesday, Finland and Sweden expressed confidence that despite Turkey’s reservations, they could find common ground.
It is clear that Sweden’s finance minister Mikael Damberg has a strong anti-terrorism bias, and that his nation treats all terrorism-related matters “extremely seriously.”
According to Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde, the PKK is classified a terrorist organization in Sweden as well as all other EU countries. According to official statements, the administration is prepared to remove any roadblocks in negotiations with Turkey.
Sweden and Finland were imposed a weapons embargo on Turkey in 2019 after Turkey launched a military incursion in northern Syria.
The US and other Western countries had cooperated with the Kurdish-led YPG troops in their battle against ISIS before Turkey started the operation. Several European nations imposed an arms embargo on Ankara as a result of the attack, drawing censure from the United States and the European Union.
Turkey will not join NATO if sanctions were imposed on Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday night. Since then, NATO would no longer be a security organization, but rather a hub for terrorist groups.
Even in the midst of an election campaign, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known for his harsh speech. Turkish elections are scheduled for next year, and analysts predict that the country’s economic woes may cost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the presidency.
Analysts believe that Turkey’s veto in NATO might be used against present members as well as potential ones in the future.
“that it may not all be at all about Sweden and Finland,” Asli Aydintasbas, senior policy friend and fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in an essay. It’s likely that the president views this as an opportunity to voice his frustrations about NATO members, particularly with the Biden current administration, which has really kept the Turkish leader at arms distance..”