Focus: Turkey “waited” to join NATO in two Scandinavian countries | Reuters

[Istanbul / Washington / Brussels, 18th Reuters]–When Finland and Sweden announced their intention to make a historic decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), NATO expected strong opposition from Russia, but joined. It was unexpected that the country would disagree.

On May 18, when Finland and Sweden announced their intention to make a historic decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), NATO expected strong opposition from Russia, but member states disagreed. The situation was unexpected. The photo shows the flags of Turkey, Sweden and Finland and the flag of NATO. Taken on the same day (2022 Reuters / Dado Ruvic)

However, at the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin on the 14th, Turkey welcomed the foreign ministers of Finland and Sweden to rewrite the history of European security for the first time in decades. Was bathed in cold water.

A NATO diplomat told Reuters that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Chabsior showed at the meeting a “crisis mode” that was the exact opposite of the celebration. The day before, Turkey’s President Erdogan also shocked other member states, saying he could not support NATO accession in either Finland or Sweden.

Mr. Chabsior not only provided the conditions for Turkey to accept NATO membership in the two Scandinavian countries, but there was also a scene in which Sweden’s Foreign Minister Linde was angry, and the three NATO diplomats violated the diplomatic ritual. He complained that it was “embarrassing” behavior.

Another NATO diplomat said, “It was a historic moment for us, but it was a big deal because Mr. Chabsior was frustrated by Mr. Linde’s’feminist policy’.” He explained the situation at the time, saying that the meeting place, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was surrounded by a very tense atmosphere, and many of the participants tried to keep silence and calm the atmosphere.

“We tried to understand what Turkey really wanted, which was really annoying,” the diplomat added.

The main demands of the Turkish side are that the two Nordic countries should stop supporting Turkey’s rebel armed group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and that the ban on the sale of arms to Turkey should be abolished.

One Turkish diplomatic source said that Mr. Chabsior respected Turkey’s stance and that Sweden’s feminist foreign policy, as Mr. Linde argued, was not the reason for Turkey’s opposition to NATO. rice field.

“Mr. Linde’s remarks are not positive for Sweden’s accession to NATO. The statement from Finland has been carefully formulated,” the source commented.

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to the request for comment.

Earlier this month, NATO diplomats told Reuters that all 30 NATO countries supported Finland and Sweden’s accession because it would bring security benefits. It is even more surprising that the foreign ministers’ meeting on the 14th has become a mesmerizing atmosphere by Turkey.

NATO countries wanted to approve the accession of the two Scandinavian countries at a record speed in order to create a united posture with Russia. However, Erdogan said on the 16th that the Swedish and Finnish delegations should not visit Turkey on schedule.

On the 18th, the Turkish presidential office announced that one of Mr. Erdogan’s important advisors had talked with representatives from Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States over the phone, and NATO unless Turkey’s expectations were met. He declared that the accession procedure would not proceed.

A person familiar with the matter was a little more optimistic, saying that Turkey had a positive conversation with Sweden, paving the way for a delegation to visit next week. However, it has been five days since the two Scandinavian countries contacted the Turkish presidential office and received a call from Mr. Erdogan’s advisor.

“There is confusion everywhere like this, but the entire accession plan is not stagnant,” the person said.

The arms embargo on Turkey in two Scandinavian countries was triggered in 2019 when Turkey invaded northern Syria to attack Kurdish militants. In Turkey’s case, if the two countries enter into a security agreement called NATO, this would be an inappropriate measure.

Turkey’s state television TRT also reported that Sweden and Finland do not allow the 33 people to be handed over as Turkey seeks. Thirty-three say they are related to what Turkey considers to be terrorists.

The chairman of the Swedish parliament’s diplomacy argues that it is possible to find a solution to this problem, but that it will be a method other than handing over. “It is completely unthinkable to deport people who have not been identified as terrorists based on the European Union’s designated terrorist list,” he said.

From the perspective of diplomats from various European countries, we have seen “negotiations” in which Mr. Erdogan will eventually reach an agreement after continuing his stance on the verge of rupture. In fact, despite taking unpredictable actions under Mr. Erdogan, Turkey is a strategically important ally and continues to contribute significantly to NATO’s mission while promoting its own foreign policy.

Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Turkey have only recently shown signs of improvement after five years of conflict due to the Syrian issue, Mr. Erdogan’s approach to Russia, Turkey’s human rights violations and suppression of speech. However, due to this problem, dark clouds have come in again.

Mr. Blinken met with US Secretary of State Blinken on the 18th, but said at a meeting of Turkish-Americans the day before, “the wind of the Cold War is beginning to blow again.”

According to a person familiar with the matter, Mr. Chabsior has been pushed back by Mr. Erdogan and is showing an external hard-line stance. But if you overdo it, your allies could overwhelm Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan is also aware of the domestic situation. It seems that it is appealing to nationalists because it is unpredictable whether it will win the presidential and parliamentary elections by the middle of next year.

Still, the United States is confident in solving problems. “We strongly believe that we will reach an agreement in terms of NATO accession procedures,” Blinken said at a press conference on Wednesday as talks continue to fill the gap between Turkey, Finland and Sweden.

(Jonathan Spicer, Humeyra Pamuk, Robin Emmott)

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