EXPLAINED: Why is Turkey Wary of Nordic States’ NATO Narrate?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey. (Image AP file)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey. (Image AP file)

Turkish President mentioned that he cannot enable Sweden and Finland to affix NATO attributable to their alleged toughen of Kurdish militants and utterly different groups that Ankara says threaten its national security

  • Connected Press Ankara, Turkey
  • Remaining Updated: May 18, 2022, 12: 13 IST

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thrown a spanner within the works of Sweden and Finland’s historical decisions to stare NATO membership, declaring that he cannot enable them to affix attributable to their alleged toughen of Kurdish militants and utterly different groups that Ankara says threaten its national security.

NATO Secretary Long-established Jens Stoltenberg has voiced self belief that the alliance will switch to confess Sweden and Finland swiftly. But Erdogan’s declaration means that the 2 Nordic worldwide locations’ route to membership would possibly well even be the leisure however soft.

Turkey’s approval is critical for the rationale that protection power alliance makes its decisions by consensus. Any of its 30 member worldwide locations can veto a unusual member. Erdogan’s authorities is anticipated to make employ of the 2 worldwide locations’ membership bids as leverage for concessions and ensures from its allies.

Right here’s a explore at Turkey’s design, what it would possibly perhaps perhaps well originate and walk repercussions:


Turkey, which has NATO’s 2nd ideal military, has historically been supportive of NATO expansion, believing that the alliance’s “launch door” coverage enhances European security. It has as an illustration, spoken in favor of the prospect of Ukraine and Georgia joining.

Erdogan’s objection to Sweden and Finland stems from Turkish grievances with Stockholm’s — and to a lesser diploma Helsinki’s — perceived toughen of the banned Kurdistan Workers Birthday party, or PKK, the leftist extremist crew DHKP-C and followers of the U.S.-essentially based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara claims changed into within the again of a failed protection power coup attempt in 2016.

Many Kurdish and utterly different exiles have chanced on refuge in Sweden over the last many years, as have contributors of Gulen’s stream more currently. Fixed with Turkey’s dispute-trail media, Sweden and Finland have refused to extradite 33 of us wanted by Turkey.

Ankara, which in most cases accuses allies of turning a blind belief to its security concerns, has also been angered by restrictions on sales of protection power equipment to Turkey. These were imposed by EU worldwide locations, including Sweden and Finland, following Turkey’s protection power incursion into northern Syria in 2019.

Additional justifying his objection, Erdogan says his nation doesn’t need to repeat a “mistake” by Ankara, which agreed to readmit Greece into NATO’s protection power structure in 1980. He claimed the motion had allowed Greece “to capture an attitude in opposition to Turkey” with NATO’s backing.


Turkey is anticipated to stare to barter a compromise deal under which the 2 worldwide locations will crack down on the PKK and utterly different groups in return for Turkish toughen of their joining NATO. A key query is anticipated to be that they stop any toughen to a Syrian Kurdish crew, the Kurdish Other folks’s Security Devices, or YPG. The crew is a Western ally within the fight in opposition to the Islamic Convey crew in northern Syria however Turkey views it as an extension of the PKK.

Erdogan would possibly well also stare to make employ of Sweden and Finland’s membership to wrest concessions from the US and utterly different allies. Turkey wants to return to the U.S.-led F-35 fighter jet program — a mission it changed into kicked out of following its opt of Russian S-400 missile protection programs. Alternatively, Turkey is taking a explore to make a selection a unusual batch of F-16 fighter jets and upgrade its reward immediate.

Other that you just would possibly perhaps perhaps take into accounts requires would possibly well encompass an stop to an unofficial embargo on protection power sales to Turkey by allies; concessions from EU member worldwide locations pertaining to Turkey’s faltered list to affix the bloc; and increased funds to aid the nation toughen 3.7 million Syrian refugees.


Turkey’s threat of a veto is seemingly to undermine its obtain reputation in Washington and across NATO, reinforcing a image of a nation that’s blocking off the alliance’s expansion for its obtain income. With the switch, Turkey also dangers negative the credit ranking it had earned by supplying Ukraine with the Bayraktar TB2 armed drones that grew to change into an efficient weapon in opposition to Russian forces.

“There would possibly be not this kind of thing as a scenario under which Turkey does now not stop up being considered as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s mole inner NATO,” mentioned Soner Cagaptay, an educated on Turkey on the Washington Institute. “All americans will neglect the objections linked to the PKK. All americans will focal level on the indisputable truth that Turkey is obstructing NATO’s expansion. This can distort the scrutinize of Turkey across (NATO).”

Cagaptay mentioned Turkey’s obstruction would possibly well also undo “the distinct momentum” that had began to manufacture in Washington relating to the sale of the F-16s. “I cannot scrutinize that sale going through at this stage,” he mentioned.


Turkey has constructed shut household with each and every Russia and Ukraine and has been attempting to steadiness its ties with each and every. It has refused to affix sanctions in opposition to Russia — whereas supporting Ukraine with the drones that helped shriek Russia air superiority.

“The indisputable truth that Erdogan is derailing (the NATO) process intentionally means that perhaps he’s attempting to steadiness the accurate protection power toughen Turkey has given to Kyiv with political toughen to Russia,” Cagaptay mentioned.

A prime Turkish flesh presser has also expressed concerns that Finland and Sweden’s membership would possibly well provoke Russia and anger the battle in Ukraine. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of a nationalist social gathering allied with Erdogan, mentioned the most convenient option would be to preserve the 2 Nordic worldwide locations within the “ready room.”


The Turkish leader is seeing a decline in his domestic toughen attributable to a faltering economy, skyrocketing inflation and a worth of dwelling disaster.

A standoff with Western nations over the emotional teach of perceived toughen to the PKK would possibly well aid Erdogan enhance his toughen and rally the nationalist vote before elections which can perhaps very effectively be at show scheduled for June 2023.

“With dwindling domestic toughen at a time when Turkey is entering a extreme electoral cycle, Erdogan is attempting to search out a increased global profile to reveal his global importance to Turkish voters,” analyst Asli Aydintasbas wrote in an article published within the European Council on International Relatives.

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