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Before the NATO summit: Is Turkey really about Sweden?

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To: 06/28/2022 16:31

As the NATO summit approaches, the Turkish president seems to be playing poker. Erdogan continues to oppose Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The question is: what exactly is he talking about?

By Uwe Lueb, ARD Studio Istanbul

“There is no reasonable explanation for this!” With these words, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is upset that Sweden has not supplied Turkey with weapons since the Turkish offensive in northern Syria in 2019. They say in Sweden that we can talk about weapons – but only after the country was admitted to NATO. But Erdogan is also bothered by the fact that the United States refuses to deliver the F16 fighter jet. He feels left behind not only by Sweden, but by the entire NATO alliance: “Turkey has not received the support expected from its allies, neither in terms of defense needs nor in its 40 years in the fight against terrorism.”

The PKK and YPG in northern Syria represent “terrorism” in Turkey. Although he describes himself as independent, he is, from the Turkish point of view, an offshoot of the PKK. In any case, Erdogan complains, Sweden and Finland are not taking any action against their supporters.

Stricter anti-terrorism laws are due to come into force in Sweden from July 1. Erdogan will probably see this as a success of his policy. But that is not enough to say yes to NATO membership.

“Not against NATO enlargement”

Turkey is also asking for suspected PKK terrorists to be extradited to them, but that is a matter of justice. The main thing is that there is more understanding for Turkish politics, summarizes Sinan Ülgen of the think tank “edam” on television: “Basically, Turkey’s objections are not aimed at expanding the alliance. But Turkey would prefer the two candidates for membership. understand Turkey’s security concerns and realign politically accordingly. »

The NATO summit provides an opportunity for this. Because this is also a new strategic concept. Host Spain would like to talk about the situation south of NATO territory – in particular Africa. From there, there is a possible threat, especially due to Russian influence.

This is where Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu comes in, drawing attention to the southeastern flank of NATO, that is to say on the borders of his country: “That does NATO name as a second threat? Terrorism. That is why we must focus on the fight against terrorism and countries support those who fight terrorism.” This is also what the NATO summit should be about.

The majority of the opposition in Turkey sees it the same way. Social Democratic CHP spokesman Faik Öztrak calls Turkey’s claims justified.

No Waiver of Claims

It is not certain that the NATO summit will lead to a yes to the membership of Sweden and Finland. From a Turkish point of view, you can continue talking after the summit. And whether a deal is reached is in the hands of Sweden and Finland, according to presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. “It is out of the question to deviate from our requirements,” he says.

With its no to Sweden and Finland, Turkey may be aiming for something completely different anyway: namely Russia’s yes to a new Turkish offensive in northern Syria. Turkey and Russia are on different sides in Syria. But that’s pure speculation.

Source www.tagesschau.de

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