Turkey Sees Positive Signals in NATO Dispute

Turkey Sees Positive Signals in NATO Dispute

There is movement in the dispute between Turkey and the other NATO countries about Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance. Both countries have taken a positive stance on lifting the arms embargo against Turkey, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said after talks with representatives of the three countries in Ankara.

Nevertheless, he made accession dependent on the fulfilment of further Turkish demands. Turkey’s security concerns have been made clear once again, and concrete steps are expected in this regard, Kalin said. Otherwise, the process of NATO membership cannot progress. The Scandinavian countries should take action against propaganda and financing of “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG. Turkey is also expecting the extradition of 28 people from Sweden and 12 from Finland, whom it accuses of terrorism.

Turkey is currently the only NATO member to publicly block the start of the process of admitting the two Nordic countries into the alliance. President Erdogan accused both states of harbouring people with ties to terrorist groups such as the PKK and the YPG. He demanded her extradition. However, the Swedish government did not comply.

While the PKK is recognized as a terrorist group in the US, EU and Turkey, the YPG and the Gulen movement are not. The latter blames Turkey for the attempted coup in 2016. The YPG – a US ally in the Syrian civil war – sees Ankara as an offshoot of the PKK. After a Turkish military offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria in 2019, Sweden, Finland and Germany, among others, restricted arms exports to Turkey.

Sweden and Finland submitted their applications for membership to NATO in Brussels last week.

Image by Mikhail Klimentyev (Wikimedia)/Attribution 4/0 (CC BY 4.0)

 

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