Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Turkey in the process of bringing Sweden into NATO

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The Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament in Ankara approved on Tuesday Sweden's accession protocol.

Agence France-Presse

Turkish MPs on Tuesday opened the doors of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Sweden and should definitively validate its entry without delay, after approval of the accession protocol in exchange for #x27;a possible American commitment to F-16 aircraft.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament in Ankara approved the text after 19 months of suspense and transmitted it to the Plenary Assembly for final adoption, a formality which should follow in the coming hours or days, but at a time – or date – which has not yet been specified.

Turkey was the last member of the Atlantic alliance with Hungary to block the way for Sweden, multiplying demands and pretexts to justify its reluctance.

The decision was immediately welcomed by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström: We are looking forward to becoming members of NATO, he told the public television website SVT Nyheter.

Sweden applied at the same time as Finland – admitted in April – after the start of the Russian war in Ukraine.

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We are seeing a change in Sweden's policy, the private channel NTV Fuat said on Monday Oktay, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament.

We still had some requests for additional progress in the fight against terrorism, he said. -he added without further details.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has objected since the start of the process to Stockholm's supposed leniency towards certain Kurdish groups, which he considers terrorists.

It seems above all that after a long silence from Washington, a telephone conversation in mid-December with American President Joe Biden finally overcame Mr. Erdogan's reluctance.

Announced as a simple formality in November, including by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (who spoke of a few weeks), the examination of the accession protocol collapsed after a single meeting.

At the beginning of December, Mr. Erdogan added as a condition to Ankara's ratification that, simultaneously, by the American Congress of the sale of aircraft F-16 fighter to Turkey.

All this is linked, he warned.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Archive photo)

Turkey had already played this card to try to obtain an American green light for the sale of F-16s , which it needs to modernize its air force.

The American government is not hostile to this sale, but Congress has blocked it until now for political reasons, notably tensions with Greece – also a NATO member – , with which Ankara has recently moved closer.

It now seems obvious that the two processes will move forward in parallel, the two processes will move forward in parallel, the media reported. AFP the director of the German Marshall Fund in Ankara, Ozgur Unluhisarcikli.

However, although the issues are not related, Turkey's statements – and of its president – supporting Hamas have further complicated the process of selling F-16s, notes the expert.

There is no real consensus within Parliament nor in the American Congress.

A quote from Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the German Marshall Fund in Ankara

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But if MM. Biden and Erdogan are showing the required will, we can hope for a near outcome.

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