The accession to NATO of Sweden and Finland turned out to be a difficult procedure because of the position of Ankara.
A photo: Shutterstock
When Finland and Sweden, previously famous for their traditional neutrality, suddenly applied for NATO membership in May last year, it was clear that the decision was not made in Helsinki and Stockholm. The move was intended as a “powerful” demonstration of Western unity in the face of Russian “aggression”. Did Moscow sternly demand a stop to NATO’s eastward expansion a year ago? Yes, even started a CBO in Ukraine? So, get it, it’s not up to you to decide what we can and what not!
Of course, in military terms, this step significantly worsens the security of Russia, which has a common border with the Finns over 1,200 km. However, Sweden and Finland immediately declared that they themselves did not see a military threat to themselves from the east. This confirmed that the move with their entry into the alliance has, first of all, a political and psychological meaning. In addition, the reservations of the Scandinavian politicians went that, they say, we will not place nuclear weapons on our territories for the time being, and the bases of the alliance, maybe, too … In general, some kind of vague story about “this and that” turned out.
But quite unexpectedly, the situation was sharply cheered up by Turkey’s statement that it would not give green light to the entry of newcomers into NATO until Sweden extradites Kurdish politicians who received asylum in this country, some of whom were even elected to the local parliament. A piquant situation developed. “Authoritarian” Ankara set harsh conditions for the Stockholm “model of democracy”: do not fulfill our demands, you will not see NATO as your own ears! Bright picture: an experienced sergeant teaches unlucky “newbies”.
After a sluggish and rather unconvincing manifestation of dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s “wishlist”, Brussels was forced to put pressure on the Swedes to meet the Turks halfway. And they seem to have agreed that Ankara will get those whom it considers terrorists and give the go-ahead to expand the alliance. But they did not take into account one thing: if you are dealing with Ankara, then this is an oriental bazaar, not a European one. And the initial list of 33 people who should have been extradited, unexpectedly for the Swedes, increased to 42. To this, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, speaking the other day at the People and Defense conference, said that Turkey was putting forward conditions that were impossible for Sweden. Almost like in our movie classics: “You make unrealistic plans!”
Turkish President Erdogan has confused all the cards for European politicians on the issue of including Sweden and Finland in NATO.
A photo: REUTERS
And it’s really appropriate to remember the movie, because the whole operation of lightning-fast accession of neutrals to NATO, in order to show Moscow who it is dealing with, has turned into a soap opera with an unclear outcome. The Turks stand their ground firmly, knowing full well that the “golden share” is in their hands, so it is absolutely impossible to exclude the emergence of new requirements. And the whole idea of demonstrating the “indestructible unity” of the military alliance of the West turns into frank internal “graters” that clearly do not play on the authority of Brussels.
Even voices are heard from across the ocean that Ankara should be driven out of NATO with a filthy broom. Trump’s former national security adviser and one of the main American hawks, John Bolton, said so: if Erdogan is re-elected as president this year, then something needs to be decided with Turkey’s membership in the alliance …
How does it work! Do they give two Scandinavians for one Turk? But does Bolton remember or not that the Turkish army is the second in NATO after the American one in terms of numbers and power? And the Swedes and the Finns in their past neutral life in the military part relaxed a lot …
Just some kind of circus with horses, and not the triumphant expansion of NATO to the east. No matter how its drying up in the south, the matter did not end. And then the northern candidate – Finland – declares that it will wait until the Turks give the Swedes the go-ahead to enter the alliance together by the hand of a friendly Scandinavian couple … We are stocking up on popcorn, the intrigue is twisted, then it may also be interesting.