Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now holds the key to the “open door” of NATO. But he has so far refused to give it up.
Meanwhile, the NATO summit is fast approaching. From Tuesday to Thursday next week, the heads of state and government of the coalition’s 30 member states will gather for a summit in the Spanish capital.
Representatives of Turkey, Sweden and Finland met on Monday in Brussels in an attempt to clarify differences. Progress was made there, but the parties did not reach a final solution, Stoltenberg’s chief of staff, Stian Jensen, told NTB then.
No new meetings
On Friday afternoon, no new meetings between Turkey, Sweden and Finland were agreed upon, and the NTB was informed by sources close to the operation. It was confirmed that the two sides are in regular dialogue.
“There is currently a fairly intense and ongoing dialogue with Turkey at different levels and between different people, and we naturally hope to move forward on this issue,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told NTB this week.
Within NATO, there is an expectation that the two sides will sit down again either before or during the summit to find a definitive solution to the long-running conflict between Turkey and the two NATO candidates.
The NATO diplomatic sources with whom the NTB spoke do not dare to predict whether there will be a breakthrough before or during the Madrid meeting.
If not, then NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg risks Turkish riots overshadowing the summit. Sweden and Finland are also likely to be suspended when important decisions are made, despite the two countries being invited to Madrid.
Promise fast operation
The fall was heightened by Stoltenberg himself when he reported that the admissions process for Sweden and Finland would begin before the summit. NATO sources indicated early on that it could take up to two weeks for applications to be sent to Sweden and Finland received an official invitation from the governments of NATO countries.
“If Finland decides to apply, they will be warmly welcomed into NATO, and the application process will be fast and smooth,” Stoltenberg said in a statement on the same day the Finnish president and prime minister said yes to NATO.
The next day, the President of Turkey announced that he was not a supporter of NATO membership for Sweden and Finland.
Stoltenberg later admitted that the process took longer than NATO expected.
He also emphasized that the summit was never a deadline for the membership process. Earlier, the NATO Secretary General stated that his goal is to solve the Turkish predicament inside Madrid.
I do not approve of terrorist organizations
Sweden and Finland submitted their NATO requests on May 18. In order to become a member of NATO, it must be approved by the 30 NATO countries in what is described as the formal ratification process.
But before this process can ever begin, the 30 ambassadors to the NATO Council must sign the so-called Accession Protocol, an invitation to the alliance. Turkey will not, so the application process for Sweden and Finland is “fixed” here.
Erdogan presented a list of requirements that must be fulfilled before Turkey accepts Swedish and Finnish membership in NATO. Turkey claims, among other things, that Sweden provides political support to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish military force in Syria, the People’s Protection Units. The PKK is considered by the entire European Union, including Sweden, as a terrorist organization. Turkey, for its part, equates the PKK with the YPG, fighting against ISIS with fighting against the Kurds.
As far as NTB is aware, this is exactly where the conflict between the three countries lies – in the designation of terrorist organizations.
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