By John Solomou |
Updated: 4 July 2022 07:02 IST
Nicosia [Cyprus] July 4 (ANI): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s blackmail that blocked Sweden’s and Finland’s attempts to join NATO proved successful as the two Nordic countries on June 28 gave in to Turkey’s demands and promised to address their security concerns. Kurdish groups and avoid arms embargoes. In return, Ankara unblocked the entire process, which had caused a great deal of diplomatic tension and strife in the West for more than 40 days.
However, the carefully drafted trilateral agreement that reached the NATO summit in Madrid can be interpreted in different ways by the parties. It was written in a way that includes “constructive ambiguities” so that each page can say that it achieved its basic goal. What remains to be seen is how this agreement will be implemented in a way that will be satisfactory to the three signatories.
Despite the agreement, Erdogan made it clear that Turkey can once again block the accession of Sweden and Finland by not submitting it to the Turkish Parliament for ratification if it is not satisfied with how Sweden and Finland implement the agreement.
The continued Russian aggression in Ukraine and the security fears it created led Sweden and Finland – two countries that remained neutral and remained outside NATO for more than 70 years – to abandon their neutrality and in May last year submitted applications to join the alliance.
Erdogan saw this application to join NATO as a golden opportunity to blackmail the two Nordic countries, which were often opposed to his repressive policies and allowed Kurdish organizations, which Ankara sees as “terrorists”, to operate freely on their land and even imposed an arms embargo on Ankara for its cross-border operation in northeastern Syria.
According to the agreement, Sweden and Finland have agreed to “quickly and thoroughly address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects.” Furthermore, the two Nordic countries promised not to give support to the YPG / PYD (the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party -PKK- which was crucial in defeating the Islamic State in Syria) and to members of the Fetullah Gulen organization (FETO), which Erdogan accuses for having organized the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.
As Erdogan was clearly pleased with the trilateral agreement, he withdrew his opposition and the stalled discussions on accession resumed. The government-controlled media in Turkey have begun to praise Erdogan as “a hero who defies the world”.
US President Joe Biden sat down with Erdogan at the summit and thanked him for his handling of the situation. The Biden administration said it supports the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. However, it is clear that Congress will have one last word on the deal, as many members of Congress oppose it because Turkey bought the S-400 missile system from Russia.
Ann Linde, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, who is trying to allay the serious concerns of the Kurdish minority of over 100,000 people and the left parties in her country, stressed that the agreement with Turkey does not require Sweden to change its domestic law on extradition or its attitude to specific extradition requests. handled by an independent judiciary. “We did not give in to Erdogan. There is no reason for Kurds to believe that their human rights or democratic rights are in danger,” she said.
Finnish President Sauli Niisto emphasized that Finland did not declare the YPG / PYD and FETO terrorist organizations, adding that Helsinki could continue to provide “humanitarian aid” to the YPG.
Erdogan later said that Sweden promised to update the list of 73 people Ankara wants to extradite.
As the NATO membership process would take about eight months – if not accelerated by the Ukraine crisis – the Turkish president said he would decide whether the two Nordic countries have complied with the trilateral agreement and “if they do not fulfill these obligations, then there is Of course, there is no way to send it to our Parliament (for ratification). “
Sweden’s Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson clarified Stockholm’s position on extradition: “Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention. It is the Supreme Court that makes that determination and has a veto. fixed.”
Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish rebel fighter who became a member of the Swedish parliament, described the agreement with Turkey as “a sad and cynical policy” and said that she may initiate a no-confidence motion against Foreign Minister Linde.
Kakabaveh has an extraordinary leverage effect because the Swedish government is dependent on her vote for her one-man majority in parliament. It was her draw in November 2021 that enabled the coalition government to survive a no-confidence vote.
That Sweden gave in to Erdogan’s demands is expected to cost the Swedish Social Democrats dearly, as the loud Kurdish minority in the country believes that the Swedish government has thrown them under the bus and intends to punish them in the upcoming election.
According to some press reports, the Biden administration and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg exerted strong pressure on the Swedish government to reach a compromise with Turkey.
The fact that the West is ready to make concessions on matters of principle just to secure Turkey’s agreement, a rogue NATO member, leaves a bitter aftertaste and makes one wonder if the beautiful words about the protection of democracy and freedom of opinion are just empty words. The West capitulated to Ankara and Erdogan made a victory.
Soner Cagaptay, head of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute, described the trilateral agreement as “a big win for Erdogan” and added: “He created a crisis. Biden had to call him to resolve the crisis. And Erdogan has shown that Biden “If Biden calls Erdogan, business can be done. This is likely to change Biden’s mentality towards Turkey.” (ANI)