ANKARA -

In light of the reconfiguration of international alliances following the outbreak of Russia's war on Ukraine, Ankara threatened to block Sweden and Finland's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in which the Turkish army occupies the second force.

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish president, said that Ankara has not closed the door to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but it wants to negotiate with northern countries and tighten measures on what it considers terrorist activities, especially in Stockholm.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, threatening to derail the process that requires the alliance's consensus.

Erdogan said he did not want to see the same mistake made when Greece joined, and also accused Stockholm and Helsinki of "harboring terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party", which Turkey, the European Union and the United States consider a terrorist organization.

NATO requires all members of the alliance to agree to a new country (Getty Images)

The importance of the Turkish decision

Founded shortly after the end of World War II, NATO is an alliance of 30 countries, Turkey is the second military power in it after the United States, and NATO members benefit according to the fifth item of military protection in the event of an attack on any member.

When a new country applies for accession, NATO members must unanimously agree to its invitation to join, hence the importance of Turkey's reservation on the accession of the two European countries.

Washington commented on Turkey's position, according to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said that "the administration of President Joe Biden is working to clarify Turkey's position on Finland and Sweden's desire to join NATO."

The Turkish announcement derailed the process that most members supported, including NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he was ready to give them a warm welcome. Turkey has officially supported the alliance's expansion since it joined the bloc 70 years ago.

Over the years, Turkey has criticized Sweden and other European countries for its dealings with organizations that Ankara considers terrorist, including supporters of US-based Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey has criticized the Russian attack and helped arm Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, and has tried to facilitate talks between the two sides, but it opposes sanctions against Moscow.

Kalin said Turkey wanted NATO to "address the concerns of all members, not just some".

On the sidelines of the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in the German capital Berlin, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a tripartite meeting on Saturday with his Swedish counterpart Anne Linde and his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto.

Commenting on President Erdogan's statements, the Swedish Foreign Minister said the day before yesterday that her country, like the European Union, considers the PKK a terrorist organization.

Turkey and America agree to consider the PKK a terrorist organization, but it is backed by Finland and Sweden (Reuters)

Turkey's demands

In this context, Dr. Jan Agon, head of the foreign policy department at the SITA Center for Studies close to the government in Ankara, confirms that Turkey has evidence of Sweden and Finland's support for the PKK and the People's Protection Units, so it categorically rejects their membership in NATO in the current period.

"Our demand is clear, which is to cut off the support provided by the two countries to terrorism, and to guarantee this in writing to Turkey, and if this is achieved, Ankara will agree to the membership of Sweden and Finland," Agon told Al Jazeera Net.

He pointed out that, by adopting the main NATO objectives, Ankara wants its allies to have a positive attitude towards its sensitivity towards its national security, and the ball is now in the court of other influential members of NATO.

In turn, the Turkish strategic expert Professor Burhaneddin Duran believes in an article that Erdogan's position has angered some Western capitals, and some may say that it is against NATO solidarity and in favor of Russia, stressing that this is not relevant, as Turkey is one of the countries that wants to increase solidarity within the alliance. North Atlantic.

"As one of the most important members of the 30-member NATO, it is natural for Turkey to request a change in its current policies from countries that conflict with its security interests," he said, stressing that it has the right to respond to those who criticize its operations in Syria to combat terrorism and establish a zone Safe for asylum seekers.


Turkish Veto

For his part, the Turkish military expert, retired General Ismail Hakki, confirmed that Russia's sharp criticism of Finland and Sweden over plans to join NATO did not play a fundamental role in Turkey's position, noting that Moscow is an ally of Ankara in many files, so its concerns about its national security must be respected. .

He pointed out that the Turkish veto against the expansion of the alliance was on the table of the meeting of his country's foreign minister with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts, believing that the two countries would cooperate with Turkish demands.

General Haqi told Al Jazeera Net, "The fact that a new country's accession to NATO requires the unanimous consent of the members of the alliance, so everyone is appealing to Turkey in order not to obstruct the accession of Finland and Sweden."

He added that "in the event that Stockholm and Helsinki expel members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Gulen Organization, curtail their activities and work to achieve world peace, Ankara will most likely not stand in the way of the two countries joining NATO."

It is noteworthy that the Madrid Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be held on June 30.


extract concessions

The Turkish newspaper Sabah stated that it can be said that Turkey is more uncomfortable with Sweden's policies than Finland, and while Swedish public opinion is discussing the request to join NATO, some analysts refer to Article 5 of the NATO Charter, and say, "Will we have to defend Turkey? We do not have to defend it despite Article Five.

The newspaper pointed out that this bold discussion of a country harboring the PKK is disturbing for Turkey.

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