President Erdogan insists on his strong demands from Sweden and Finland. – It is very determined, says the adviser to the Turkish leader to VG.
– There are discussions and negotiations going on, it would be foolish to expect how this will turn out, says Ilnur Şefik over the phone from the Presidential Palace in Ankara when VG calls.
He worked as an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a number of years, and is a former editor of Turkey’s main newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News. Şefik was also an advisor to former Prime Ministers Suleyman Demirel and Necmettin Erbakan in the 1990s.
He knows Turkish politics from within the center of power. And now there is a whole activity in the mansion, he can tell VG.
– We are all very busy with this case.
The issue he is talking about is NATO enlargement, as Sweden and Finland have applied for membership in the defense alliance.
This is the most important condition
Turkey, as one of the 30 NATO member states, has exited and temporarily banned applications in the Nordic countries. The reason is that the government in Ankara claims that these countries are a “free port for terrorists”. Turkey made a number of demands to Sweden and Finland.
What is Erdogan’s determination to overcome this?
– He’s very determined. He does not trust these people. The prime ministers and governments of Sweden and Finland can make as many promises as they want, but that’s just talk. But when one day they have to resign, a new administration comes in who can say this was never an agreement. That is why we demand guarantees in Parliament until the agreement is confirmed, Shafiq answers.
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In a meeting with Turkish students in Istanbul on Wednesday, President Erdogan made the same arguments and emphasized that Turkey would not surrender:
“We will continue to promote our policies in a specific way,” Erdogan said in a video posted by the president on his website. Twitter profile.
When asked about Turkey’s most important demands, Erdogan’s chief adviser replied to VG:
If these two countries are to join NATO, they must respect Turkey’s security concerns. This is something they have never done before.
I think it’s simple
The presidential adviser claims that Sweden and Finland have long supported the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is classified as a terrorist in Turkey, in the European Union and the United States of America. There is a large Kurdish diaspora in Sweden in particular, and the Kurds here run organizations and media that support the ethnic minority’s struggle for equal rights.
Swedish parliamentarian of Kurdish origin told VG that accusations from Turkey that Sweden is a free port for terrorists It is seen as terrible.
– The PKK is organizing rallies in the streets of Sweden and Finland, claims the President’s advisor Cevik.
A number of pro-Kurdish demonstrations were organized in northern cities, including Oslo, to protest the Turkish war in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria. When PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in 1999, thousands of Kurds took to the streets in Stockholm.
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Turkey has been at war with the PKK since 1984, and hundreds of thousands of lives have died as a result of the armed conflict.
– Although the PKK is included in the list of terrorists, the West ignores the PKK. Now we say: if Sweden and Finland become members of our security services, you must respect our security considerations. You have to suspend your relations with them. You have rotted with the Kurdish terrorists. We ask you to end it so that you can become our allies. Simply.
Ask for guarantees
Among the demands of the government in Ankara for Sweden and Finland is the lifting of their self-imposed ban on arms exports to Turkey, which came in response to Turkey’s military entry into Syria in 2019. Here, Turkish forces fought mainly against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a sister organization of the PKK. Kurdistan banned.
– What does it take for you in the Turkish government to say “Well, we agree to the requests of Sweden and Finland in NATO”?
– They should give us parliamentary guarantees. We need full parliamentary guarantee because governments can be replaced, but what is passed in Parliament remains.
– What guarantees does Turkey require?
Sweden and Finland should end their relations with the PKK. The senior adviser answers that they should say that they do not tolerate the PKK on Swedish and Finnish soil.
He would have handed over “radical” terrorists.
Šivek confirms that Turkey has also released a list of 33 names they have requested to be handed over from Sweden and Finland. 12 of them must be residing in Finland, while 22 are in Sweden.
– We are not asking for the Kurds to be handed over on the streets of Sweden. These are “hard core” terrorists. We have been demanding the extradition of well-known PKK terrorists for a long time, and neither Sweden nor Finland handed them over to us. They say this is a legal process, but this has been going on for five or six years already, says Schivik.
Of the 33 people, only PKK members will be suspected. According to Cevik, exiled Turks belonging to the Gülen network, whom Ankara accuses of being behind the failed 2016 coup attempt, are not included here.
– We also want Gulenists, but now we must first solve the PKK problem. They should have handed it over to us a long time ago.
refuses to have games
Since Erdogan sat on his hind legs in the face of NATO expansion, many experts believe that this is a bargaining chip on Ankara’s part. And that’s what Erdogan is trying to do more than anything else is win over voters at home, maintain good relations with Putin, and push Biden to come into the field against Turkey and sell the country new fighter jets.
For his part, Erdogan’s chief adviser said this is not a game.
We do not do this to be opportunistic, or use it as a trump card. But we say that if we want to sit as allies around the same table as these peoples, there are certain rules they must take into account.
Refers to Article 5
Elnor Shevik refers to the essence of NATO, that is, Article 5, which provides for mutual assistance in the event of an armed attack on one of the parties to the treaty. This is the principle of “one for all, all for one”. He explains that Turkey finds it difficult to help Sweden or Finland, as is the case today.
Sweden and Finland are small countries with small defensive forces. While we have the second largest army in NATO. If we are to go out to help these countries when needed, we must be able to trust them. They must become true allies.
– Some believe that the disagreement is not really about Sweden and Finland, but about the United States, and that Erdogan wants more respect from Biden?
– We’re not looking for respect. The presidential advisor concludes that we are NATO allies, and Turkey has been an ideal ally in the wars in Afghanistan, Bosnia and now Ukraine.
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