A committee of the Turkish parliament will discuss and possibly approve her request today Sweden for joining the NATOthe latest step toward expanding the Western defense coalition after 18 months of delays that frustrated some allies and led to some concessions.
Last May, the president Tayyip Erdogan objected to requests from both Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance. The Nordic states made these demands after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
THE Turkey approved Finland’s accession in April but, along with NATO member Hungary, kept Sweden on hold, asking Stockholm to take more steps to crack down on those in its jurisdiction whom Turkey considers terrorists .
The following is a summary of the measures taken by Stockholm, Helsinki, Washington and other NATO members to respond to Turkey’s concerns. According to analysts cited by Reuters, these are geopolitical victories for Erdogan, even though the Turkish president has caused tension in Turkey’s relations with the West, APE-MPE reports.
What concessions did Sweden and Finland make?
At a meeting last year NATO in Madrid, Turkey reached an agreement with Sweden and Finland under which the two countries lifted an arms embargo and took action against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as the so-called Gulen movement, the which Ankara holds responsible for the 2016 coup attempt. Last year Stockholm lifted a ban on military equipment exports to Turkey, without disclosing details of companies or products.
In June, she introduced a new anti-terror bill that makes it illegal to join a terrorist organization, saying she has kept her side of the deal.
In recent months, a top Swedish court blocked the extradition of two Turks Ankara says are Gulenists, while an appeals court upheld the conviction of a man for trying to finance the PKK, which is also considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States. In a separate development, in response to criticism of Turkey and other Muslim-majority countries, Justice Minister Gunnar Strömer said the Sweden is considering whether the law could be changed so that protesters no longer publicly burn the Koran.
Finland, for its part, agreed last year to consider granting arms export licenses to Turkey on a case-by-case basis. After almost a year of waiting, Ankara announced that Helsinki has its blessings.
What other NATO members did
When Erdogan signaled at a NATO conference in July that Sweden would eventually get the green light, NATO member Canada agreed without fanfare to reopen talks with Turkey on lifting controls on the export of drone parts. , including optical equipment.
The Netherlands has lifted restrictions on arms deliveries to Turkey.
Also in July, following a meeting between Turkish and Swedish leaders, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO would create a special counter-terrorism coordinator position. In October, he appointed assistant secretary-general Thomas Goffus to the post.
OK for Sweden in exchange for US F-16 fighters?
The issue of Washington’s support for Ankara’s request to buy $20 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets and 79 modernization kits overshadowed discussions on whether to approve the Swedish request. A day after Erdoğan gave the green light for Sweden to join NATO in July, the White House announced that it would proceed with granting F-16s to Turkey after consultation with Congress.
In October, Erdogan sent Sweden’s request to join NATO to the Turkish parliament for consideration. But he has said that Washington is linking the approval of the F-16 purchase to the approval of Sweden’s accession.
Ankara made the request to buy the F-16s in 2021. But it has faced objections from the US Congress because of Turkey’s delay in NATO enlargement and because of its human rights record.
Where is Sweden’s request at the moment?
If the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee backs Sweden’s accession bill, the full parliament will hold a vote, possibly within days or weeks.
NATO foreign ministers will meet on November 28 and 29 in Brussels. Hungary has also not ratified Sweden’s membership request.
The speaker of the Turkish parliament – where Erdogan’s ruling coalition has a strong majority – told his Swedish counterpart yesterday, Tuesday, that lawmakers hope to complete the ratification “as soon as possible”. After introducing the bill to parliament in October, Erdogan has said he will try to facilitate ratification, but has added that Stockholm still has not taken enough action against Kurdish militants.
THE Israel’s war against the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza could strain US-Turkish relations and complicate NATO enlargement, analysts say.
After Erdogan declared that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but a liberation organization fighting to protect Palestinian land, 47 members of the US Congress called on the US government to hold Turkey accountable for its role in supporting Hamas.
Source: News Beast
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