December 2, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Turkish President Erdogan "would not agree" to Sweden and Finland joining NATO

Turkish President Erdogan “would not agree” to Sweden and Finland joining NATO

Sweden and Finland recently announced that they will formally apply for NATO membership as soon as possible. Scandinavia has a long history of neutrality, but due to Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine, countries now want to join the military alliance.

However, the Swedes and Finns need permission from all NATO countries to join. Turkey has been a member since 1952 and, like all member states, has a veto.

Why does Turkey bother you?

Erdogan said last week that he “does not support” the Scandinavian countries’ accession. According to him, the countries harbor terrorists from the Kurdish PKK and the extreme left DHKP-C. Erdogan has been fighting against these two organizations in his country for years, and some of their supporters have fled to Sweden and Finland.

What now?

Earlier today, Sweden announced that it would send diplomats to Turkey to discuss possible NATO membership. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said diplomats wanted to resolve the issue and “know what this is really about”. However, Erdogan now says that both the Swedish and Finnish delegations can spare themselves the effort: He will not grant permission as long as the Scandinavian countries “continue to host members of the PKK”.

However, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is confident in his ability to allay Turkey’s concerns and does not expect NATO membership to be postponed. Erdogan’s reference to the PKK and DHKP-C gives the impression that he wants to use the debate on NATO expansion to demand concessions from Sweden and Finland.

Where is Turkey from the war between Russia and Ukraine?

Turkey occupies a central position in the Ukraine war. She is trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. The Turks say they want to maintain good relations with both countries. The Turkish government condemns the Russian invasion, closed the airspace of Russian aircraft and did not allow the ships of the Russian Navy to enter the Bosphorus. However, Turkey did not join the economic sanctions against Russia.

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