After months of opposing Finland’s, and especially Sweden’s, application for NATO membership, Turkey is showing signs of backing down after the talks.
“We will hold further meetings with Sweden and Finland on NATO membership” – announce Head of Turkish diplomacy.
According to Mevlut Cavusoglu’s promise, negotiations with Sweden and Finland regarding NATO membership in the two countries will continue in Brussels on March 9. Turkey rejected Sweden’s request to join, stating that Stockholm was not willing to hand over members of the Turkish opposition, chief among them the Kurds.
After the Koran burning incident in Stockholm in January, Ankara without hesitation ruled out support for Sweden’s accession. The Swedish foreign minister declared at the time that the NATO operation was “on hold”.
And now, after his Turkish colleague’s announcement, Tobias Bellström said: “This is a welcome and good message from Turkey.” Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson “wants to return to negotiations as soon as possible”.
At the Munich Security Conference, Christerson met his Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, who reiterated his intention to have Finland and Sweden join the defense alliance together.
“But this does not change the fact that Turkey makes its own decisions, and we fully respect that,” the Swedish prime minister said.
Turkey’s change of heart came after the United States increasingly pressured Ankara. Washington asked Turkey to ratify the accession requests of Sweden and Finland as soon as possible.
According to the Swedish Prime Minister, other NATO countries strongly support Sweden’s entry into NATO.
However, Christerson could not have known at the time that Hungary was also reluctant to support NATO expansion.
This was evident in statements made by the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office to government media. Asked by Index, Gergely Golias said: “Hungary is interested in having a strong NATO.” However, he added that there is unfounded and false criticism from Sweden and Finland.
In order to clarify them, the President of the National Assembly sends delegations to Finland and Sweden for information and settlement of disputes. Once this is done, in the second half of March, they can vote to ratify the two countries’ NATO membership in Parliament.
Otherwise, the deadline moves from month to month.
In his radio interview, the Hungarian Prime Minister said that he personally asked the Fidesz faction to ratify the accession of the two countries.
The actors aren’t very excited
– added Viktor Orban, who said that some representatives argued that Finland’s accession would create more than a thousand kilometers of border between NATO and Russia, which would be dangerous, but there were still convincing counterarguments to this. On the other hand, the other half of the deputies complain that the Swedes and Finns are “spreading plain lies” about Hungarian democracy and the rule of law.
By the way, in Munich, US Vice President Kamala Harris also stood for expansion as soon as possible, and Blinken reiterated this position at the press conference he held with his Turkish counterpart.
“The United States strongly supports the accession of the Nordic countries as soon as possible,” he said, adding that “Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO is not a bilateral matter.”
Discussions between Blinken and Cavusoglu centered on the sale of US F-16s to Turkey, though Cavusoglu He denied that these talks would in any way affect Turkey’s desire to re-engage with Sweden’s request for NATO.
It would not be right or fair to make two independent matters dependent on each other
– stated Cavusoglu, who said that “it will not be possible for us to purchase F-16s under these conditions.”
Turkey is forced to modernize its F-16 fleet after the United States refused to take delivery of the next generation F-35 fighter jet after purchasing Russian anti-aircraft missiles.
Blinken assured his Turkish hosts that the F-16 deal “is extremely important to the continued interoperability of NATO and is in the national interest of the United States.”
By the way, the statement of the US Secretary of State reflects the position of the representative of the Swedish Social Democrats, Even Ersen.
When asked if the United States should get involved more to speed up Sweden’s accession application and thwart Ankara’s obstruction, he said: “Absolutely. This is in the interest of the United States of America, all EU member states and ultimately Turkey.”
(Cover photo: Greg Mathieson/Mai/Getty Images)
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