Moscow anticipated Turkey’s abandonment of veto on NATO expansion.
Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst
Having initially opposed Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Turkey capitulated to significant pressure on June 28 and abandoned its position after coming to a compromise with the two Scandinavian countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan planned to use the NATO summit to end Scandinavian support for Kurdish groups in Syria and to lambast Greece. Although the latter did not happen, Erdoğan did secure the end of Finnish and Swedish support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Gaining NATO membership in 1952, at the same time as Greece, Turkey traditionally does not hesitate to raise conflicting opinions within the bloc to serve its interests. It is recalled that in 2009, as an example, Erdoğan objected to former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen being appointed as NATO secretary general for his sympathy to the Kurds. Then in the midst of strained relations with Israel, Ankara prevented NATO from meeting with the country for six years.
In every major geopolitical development, Turkey attempts to find a way to gain advantages, even if the issue seemingly has nothing to do with the main focus of the time. Take for example how Turkey very openly said it planned to raise its issues with Greece at a meeting that mostly revolved around the potential NATO membership of two northern European countries.
Therefore, when Turkey protests, it means that something has to be exchanged. This time, Turkey secured an end for Finnish and Swedish support to Kurdish militias, as well as lifting the ban on arms deliveries to the country. Ankara recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group, while Stockholm traditionally considers them a national movement. When Turkey launched a military operation against Syria in 2019, Finland and Sweden voiced its opposition and introduced a ban on arms deliveries to Turkey.
It is important to note that Ankara protests not for the sake of protesting to disrupt NATO, but to demand what it wants in return. At the NATO Summit, Erdoğan shook hands with the representatives of the two Scandinavian countries and reached an agreement on the Kurdish issue and the lifting of the ban on arms shipments – Sweden has a thriving arms business.
Although Ankara’s opposition to Helsinki and Stockholm’s accession to NATO was advantageous to Moscow, there is little doubt that decisionmakers in the Kremlin would have anticipated that it would only be a matter of time until Turkey abandoned its position after it gained some kind of concession. None-the-less, Russia has warned that the accession of Sweden and Finland could endanger its interests and security and will react accordingly.
The reality is that Sweden and Finland have effectively been NATO members in all but title. The relationship between the two Scandinavian countries and NATO has been very close and joining the bloc is just a formalization step.
Erdoğan’s change of decision coincided with his long-awaited meeting with US President Joe Biden, who for his part assured his backing for Turkey to purchase upgraded F-16 fighter jets. Although Biden has backed the initiative, Turkey will still have a long battle with Congress to have the purchases approved, a seemingly unlikely prospect at this moment in time.
Turkey has the second-largest military force in the NATO alliance and is geographically important. It is also one of the most important NATO members as it is the only country that has the potential to completely blockade Russia in the Black Sea. Turkey is fully aware of the leverage it possesses, and thus NATO is forced to listen to its concerns and/or demands.
Given the current domestic political situation with Erdoğan’s declining popularity and rising poverty, he is trying to gain back support by claiming a huge victory on the international stage. However, political opponents, including in the media sphere, did not hesitate to criticize the Turkish president for capitulating on the NATO membership issue.
The President of the Good Party (IYI), Meral Akşener, described the development as a “concession incompatible with Turkey’s interests”; Özgür Özel, MP of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said what Erdoğan says “has no value anymore”; and, the Sözcü newspaper wrote: “What did you get that you swallowed your words?”.
The main issue they had is that Erdoğan did not challenge Greece’s sovereignty over the Aegean islands as he had promised to do prior to the NATO summit. But demanding the demilitarization of the Aegean islands or discussions over the legitimacy of Greece’s sovereignty was something that the NATO organization was never going to entertain.
In this way, Erdoğan’s veto against Finland and Sweden could be seen as a cheap political play to prop up his declining popularity by gaining an easy victory over the PKK, no matter how limited or little the Swedish and Finnish support for the Kurdish militias actually was. Although the Turkish president could not pander to the most aggressive ultra-nationalists by once again raising ridiculous claims over the Greek islands, any kind of advancement against the Kurds is seen as a major victory by large segments of Turkish society.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
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- Turkey Agreed To Sweden And Finland Joining NATO. Putin Is Not Against
- Sweden and Finland Almost in NATO But Turkey Set Conditions
- Double Standards Haunt US And Europe In NATO Dispute With Turkey
NATO is growing and getting stronger while russia is getting it’s ass torn up in Ukraine…
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USA-NATO will keep crossing Vladolph Pitler’s ‘red lines’ until moscow falls…
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USA-NATO to russia: “BRING IT!”
Finland and Sweden will now join NATO and Vladimir Putin will stay in Moscow fucking his favorite horse. Sounds like mission accomplished in reverse.
Sweden and Finland can now be squashed like a filthy NATO cockroach by 2 Zircons.
Erdoğan had stopped short of demanding an EU membership in exchange for its approval of Sweden & Finland to join NATO which I know he could easily secure since EU and NATO are so desperate to achieve what they could recognise as a symbolic win over the Russian special operation by creating a potential frontier hostile to RF, nonetheless Turkey has failed to obtain its long desired ambition to get into EU circle.
Turkey didn’t fail to obtain anything. Only a fool would want to join the EU now. Capital flows are pouring out of Europe. No bank outside of the EU will accept European bonds as collateral. They forced all of there pension funds to invest in sovereign bonds, then they went to negative interest rates. All of their pension funds are bankrupt. Nobody but the ECB wants anything to do with European bonds, because Europe is bankrupt. Sri Lanka and Lebanon were the first to fall, but Europe is right behind them.
Russia victorious, defeating the Nazi cannon fodder of NATO, Finland and Sweden bring nothing to NATO
I tend to disagree since Finland and Sweden will help NATO to fill the bucket of collective tears from grieving communities.
Turkey has detained the Russian ship transporting grain to friendly countries -Turkey is the enemy of Russia – cut off Russian gas to this Janus -two-faced country – you are either for or against Russia no middle ground .
Erdogan is a loose cannon, he’s no ones enemy and no ones friend.
You mean a slippery/fishy customer .
Do it.turkiye doesn’t side with any country we are independent country.
To Erdogan: “Go East, young man.”
USA-NATO are going to carve russia up…heheheh
The divider hasn’t grown yet!!
only in reference to a salad
A shameful decision by us Finns, although we were not asked anything and do not want to join Nato. All polls since the 90’s have shown that clearly. Our tresonous government, freemason president and prime minister marin, a swedish royal actor are destroying Finland and sending Finnish citizens to face a death penalty in Turkey. Many kurds here are Finnish citizens. Erdogan will put up an overseeing commision in Finland to monitor an independent country and the deportations, they must go as he wishes. If Finland does not send them, why then write an agreement promising to do so?
Not sure what Erdoğan really won, the Finns have already backed track on sending their terrorist to Turkey. I bet the Terror will change their name and then they no longer are terrorists. On selling military products to Turkey Sweden and Finland will say before they do their Parliament will have to OK it first and that won’t happen, so what did Erdoğan win?
All the current western leaders are sucking erdogans goat tits. I am ashamed I am dutch.
Lol the author of this article is Greek
Prediction: before too long Turkey will begin preventing Russian shipping into and out of the Black Sea. Just a hunch for now.
And I hope Mr.Putin doesn’t say “please can our ships pass through ” .
In the position of strength that turkey is not their demans will only grow.
Time for the balcans to join nato so they cant gift it to turkey the next time they want something from Erdogan.
Never trust the Turks.
So… Turkey is playing with NATO and Russia to gain some influence and territories. Well… it worked so far for Turkey as in Cyprus, Syria. However I’m worried about her play with Russia as they don’t listen to bs the west is buying from Turkey.
Go back to school and learn the history of Cyprus