Turkey reveals position on NATO expansion for upcoming key summit — Analysis
President Erdogan will tell fellow NATO leaders in Madrid that his country won’t compromise on Sweden and Finland’s membership
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdan said Monday that Ankara still opposes Sweden and Finland joining NATO. He is likely to repeat the same position during the summit in Spain to leaders of NATO countries.
Erdogan will tell you that “Turkey will not compromise its stance towards countries that support terrorism and terrorist organizations”According to Turkish media, the message that his office sent was the following:
To clarify its stance, the office stated that it would hold two events in public before Madrid’s meeting. The first will be held in Brussels, Friday; the second will take place on the sidelines at the summit in Spain.
The two Nordic nations requested to join the US-led military bloc in late May, citing Russia’s attack on Ukraine as the reason. In the past, the two nations had maintained neutrality during peak times of Cold War.
Moscow claimed that Sweden and Finland are threatening their national security through seeking membership in an organisation, Russia considers hostile. Moscow warned Russia that it will change its military positions accordingly.
Turkey declared that the country would not let the two states join the alliance for a range of reasons, Ankara referring to the “hostiling of terrorists” category. Turkey was speaking about people that it believes are part of terrorist groups, such as the Kurdish militant group PKK or Kurdish militias located in Syria and Iraq.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that Turkey’s resistance to the proposed enlargement came as a surprise. “Earlier in the process, we had no reasons to believe there would be any problems,”He spoke to the Financial Times Monday.
According to the governments of Sweden and Finland, they would be willing to negotiate with Turkey. This could include tightening their respective antiterrorism laws or reviewing existing restrictions on weapons exports to Turkey.
They are apparently unwilling to fulfill Turkish extradition demands for Ankara’s terrorist-linked suspects. President Erdogan specifically mentioned rejected requests as a reason to stonewall the two nations’ accession to NATO.
Finish media reported that the country had received 10 Turkey-related extradition requests between 2019 and 2022. It has granted two of those requests while processing seven.
For the Swedish government to continue in power, it will be particularly challenging to meet Turkish demands. The Swedish government must have the support Kurdish lawmakers. Last week, Social Democrats announced that they will not abandon the agreement they reached with Kurdish MPs last November in order to keep their justice minister safe from a motion to no-confidence.
Amineh Kakabaveh (an independent Kurdish MP) threatened to vote for the opposition, but the government had to make a pledge against Ankara.