Turkey continues to show its opposition to the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO. And Ankara’s critics are garnering some support within Turkish society, including among opponents of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But with nuances.
Tolga does not vote for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Every day, this 42-year-old engineer rails against his way of managing Turkey, where the inflation rate is 70%.
But regarding foreign policy in Turkey, especially on the subject of Finland and Sweden in NATO, he agrees with the Turkish president.
‘These countries must give us solid guarantees. At a minimum, they should extradite PKK members who have participated in crimes. I fail to understand their conception of freedom of opinion. Before sending Turkish soldiers to defend these countries in case of attack, they must first respect our own security sensitivities.’
The Turkish president indeed accuses Stockholm and Helsinski of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group classified as terrorist by Turkey and the European Union, by welcoming some of its members on their soil.
This Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also asked the two Nordic countries, once again, to lift an embargo on arms sales to Turkey, decided in the fall of 2019 in response to an operation by the Turkish army against the Kurdish forces in Syria.
Ünal Çeviköz, former ambassador and deputy of the main Turkish opposition party, the CHP, also accuses Sweden and Finland of “not being sensitive to Turkey’s fight against terrorism”. On the other hand, he criticizes President Erdogan’s method.
‘These are problems in Turkey’s relations with these two countries. Therefore, Turkey should express its legitimate expectations and try to find a solution within the framework of its bilateral relations. It won’t do him much good to bring these disputes to NATO level. To say “they just have to change their policies if they want to be accepted into NATO” is, in my view, a foreign policy error, a tactical error.’
Beyond the litigation with Stockholm and Helsinki, Turkish officials recognize that the enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance would serve the interests of the country. Ankara’s objective is therefore to find a diplomatic solution.