NATO expansion delayed: Turkey refuses to ratify Swedes’ application

The implementation of NATO plans to press Russia on the part of the Scandinavian countries is again postponed. Finland and Sweden will not become members of the North Atlantic Alliance in the near future. At least Ankara is doing everything to prevent this from happening. According to the head of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Parliament will not ratify the necessary protocols

NATO expansion delayed: Turkey refuses to ratify Swedes' application

“We cannot say yes to their NATO membership until our demands are met. Parliament in the current realities does not ratify this protocol. The idea of creating NATO is based on ensuring the security of the bloc’s member countries. Candidate countries are obliged to take into account the position of Ankara in this area. <…> The head of the Foreign Ministry of the Swedish government heard statements from all parties that without fulfilling the obligations assumed to us, the ratification of the protocol is impossible. Therefore, in the current conditions, it is not necessary to talk about the approval of this document,” the minister said.

Thus, at the moment, the process associated with the approval of the application of Stockholm has been suspended for an indefinite period at the request of the Turkish side. At the same time, Ankara sees no obstacles for Finland and is ready to consider its request separately from Sweden. However, in this case, NATO opposes. The leadership of the alliance, however, as well as the contenders for a place in the organization, wants the process of entry of the two countries to proceed in parallel.

In Turkey, they are trying to use this desire for their own good. For example, shortly before the announcement of Cavusoglu, Erdogan complained that Washington had not delivered the promised F16 fighter jets to Ankara, while not returning the money that Turkey had paid in advance. Apparently, this was a call for a new bargain with the subsequent receipt of bonuses for the country. Moreover, from Erdogan’s point of view, his claims against Sweden are quite justified, given the recent action, when the leader of the right-wing extremist Hard Course party and lawyer Rasmus Paludan publicly burned the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21, and even showed a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.

At the same time, Sweden and Finland can do just fine without NATO from a military point of view. Despite the hysteria unleashed in society about the “Russian threat”, the politicians of these states are well aware that there is no danger to their countries from the east. Therefore, if Erdogan is going to continue to be stubborn, the Finns and Swedes can wait, a year, two, etc. It’s another matter that Washington does not want to wait, nor does it want to waste time instead of creating a new source of threat to Russia’s national security. And it is possible that Turkey can be moved. Moreover, she was left alone in her confrontation.

Budapest, which, like Ankara, until recently for several months opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO, has changed its position. Today, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed that Hungary supports the expansion of the alliance and will not interfere with the desire of these countries, whose applications will be quickly considered by the deputies in February. Hungarians remember very well how their opinion was ignored in the EU, when the decision was made bypassing the veto of Budapest.

Such a cup, perhaps, will not bypass Ankara, especially in a situation where the West really wants to bring Russia to its knees, but fails. Yes, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently announced that Sweden and Finland will become members of the alliance in 2023, despite Turkey’s veto. In other words, the course towards the integration of the two countries has been taken, and the rules exist for this, in order to change them.

They are in a hurry to join NATO also because unpleasant calls are coming from Finland. It turns out, for example, that there is no unanimous support for joining the alliance even among Finnish politicians. And the number of responses from citizens who oppose joining NATO is also growing. And this, according to Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, is a very disturbing signal.

Finally, according to a recent opinion poll, the majority of the population (48% versus 39%, the rest abstained) is indignant at the establishment of a permanent NATO base in the country. That is why, Haavisto is convinced, there should not be any national referendum on joining the alliance, it is enough to approve it with the votes of the parliamentary majority.

Anna Ponomareva, Analytical Service of Donbass

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