Britain and US reportedly pressure NATO hopefuls — Analysis
Sweden and Finland were encouraged to meet Ankara’s demands, Turkish media claims
Washington and London are leading an alleged lobbying campaign for Sweden and Finland to accept demands from Turkey. Turkey is currently blocking NATO membership.
According to Turkish media, the claim was made last Thursday by Turkish MPs.
According to a report in the newspaper Hurriyet, delegations from the US and UK told their counterparts from Sweden and Finland to accommodate Ankara’s wishes. They allegedly took place at the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO Allies, held in Lithuania from May 27 to 27, and included a four-day period.
According to Turkish MPs, they claimed that the Turkish demands were justifiable by European members who participated in the Vilnius event. The leaders of the bloc believe the same.
Turkey threatened to block Sweden’s and Finland’s requests to join NATO. It cited a variety of grievances. Ankara claimed that the two countries harbored Kurdish “terrorists” and compromising Turkey’s security by banning arms exports to the country. The terrorists the Turkish officials were referring to are suspected members of the PKK – a Kurdish militant group that has fought against the Turkish government for decades – and Kurdish militias based in Syria and Iraq.
These issues had to be resolved before the Turkish parliament could ratify its accession. Sweden and Finland indicated that they are willing to negotiate, and offered some concessions such as increased surveillance for terrorists operating on their territory.
According to Turkish officials, diplomats representing the two countries visited Turkey last Wednesday and received written requests. Mevlut Cavrusoglu, foreign minister, said that Ankara will require the Nordic countries to modify their laws.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly stated that security concerns for all NATO members must be addressed. However, he did not call out Sweden or Finland publicly to comply with the demands. He stated that he was certain their differences would be resolved.
The head of the Turkish delegation complained that NATO’s conflict with Ukraine had overshadowed other matters during the meeting in Lithuania. Osman Askin Bak claimed that Turkey was responsible for halting Russia’s offensive, by providing armed drones to Kiev. He stated that the alliance was not needed. “work on the southern flank, which is… quite important,”Turkey should be very concerned about Syria and Afghanistan.