How long could Turkey sustain its bargain politics against NATO?
Lately, delegates from Sweden and Finland visited Ankara and met officials to clarify the concerns to lift Turkey’s blockage on the way to joining NATO on May 25, 2022. Spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın said, “We have made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe the process will not progress.”
The Erdogan regime demands the two Nordic countries to take an action against The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and other entities that Turkey sees as a threat. Turkey also asked for the extradition of 28 “terrorism” suspects from these countries. There are journalists and writers among them as well. Journalists from these two countries campaign against the malicious request for the deportation of Turkish journalists who settled in their countries and seek for asylum. Turkish officials also asked these two Nordic countries to lift the restrictions on the export of arms applied to Turkey.
Why in New York?
Before this high-up meeting took place in Ankara, Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, met with his counterpart, secretary Antony Blinken on May 18, 2022. Believed on purpose, the Biden administration has never hosted anyone from Turkey in Washington D.C. since Biden took the office. Unsurprisingly, this meeting between Çavuşoğlu and Blinken took place in New York. As expected, both leaders talked about the NATO membership bit of the two Nordic countries.
What is Erdogan's real concern?
Turkey asked the US to drop the Halk Bank case, Multibillion-Dollar Iranian Sanctions Evasion Scheme, in exchange of approving the NATO membership of the two Nordic countries. The Erdogan regime fears a lot from this case and if it starts as expected in August before the presidential elections, that could have a catastrophic result over the election. The Erdogan regime plays hard to get rid of it or tries to delay it as much as possible to any date that would be later than the coming election. Some believe Erdogan fears this and use the two Nordic countries’ NATO membership bit as an excuse.
Nationalist Movements Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahçeli, said during his party’s latest meeting that “Turkey should also consider leaving NATO” on May 24, 2022. Bahçeli’s MHP and Erdogan’s AKP are in an alliance called the People Alliance since 2018. Therefore, MHP is seen as the “small” partner of Erdogan’s government. One thing is clear, and it is not whether Turkey would really leave the NATO or not, but Turkey’s membership was started to be critiqued by the western allies whether they should move to suspend or remove Turkey from the NATO because of the uncertainties caused by Turkey.
Why is opposition silent?
Turkish opposition parties are surprisingly silent about the stance of the Erdogan regime against the NATO membership bid of the two Nordic countries. Everyone who has common sense opposes or criticizes the policies of the Erdogan regime, but they preferred to remain silent. This is another great problem of Turkish politics, and the opposition has no idea or comments on many front issues of the country no matter what it is about. This is the top reason why the Erdogan regime could play around with anything in any way they wish in the Turkish political sphere.
The Biden administration hosted the two leaders of the Nordic countries at the White House and discussed the issues related to the NATO membership bid of these two countries and Turkey’s concerns against it on May 19, 2022. Biden backed the membership bid of these two countries and said, “we are agreed to address Turkey’s concerns.”
Will Turkey step back?
Now, everyone curiously expects to see the outcome of all these negotiations and discussions, especially the meeting that had happened in Ankara between the two Nordic countries and Turkey and the approach of the two Nordic countries and their response to the hard requests of the Erdogan regime. But one thing is for sure that, we can see good signs of the changing mind of Erdogan's regime after İbrahim Kalın states that “we had good signs of agreeing on our concerns.” We will wait and see who will open the pandora’s box, the US or the two Nordic countries.
Originally published at https://politurco.com on May 26, 2022.