Ankara’s threat to block offers from Finland and Sweden has nothing to do with Russia
Turkey’s list of demands for NATO and its potential members Finland and Sweden includes the lifting of sanctions imposed on Ankara over its purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, as well as reintegration into the F-35 advanced aircraft program, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing “three senior Turkish officials.”
On May 15, Finland and Sweden officially announced their intention to join NATO following the ongoing Russian military offensive against Ukraine. For this to be possible, all members of the alliance should support their candidacies unanimously. Turkey, however, said it would not say “yes“in Helsinki and Stockholm because they don’t have”a clear and unequivocal positionagainst the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), groups that Ankara considers terrorist organizations.
Turkey opposes Finland and Sweden’s NATO candidacies: Erdogan
Sweden and Finland have a history of granting political asylum to people from Turkey, especially ethnic Kurds, fleeing internal strife – something Ankara finds unacceptable. According to Bloomberg, Turkish leaders are demanding that Sweden and Finland “publicly denounce not only the PKK, but also its affiliates before being allowed to join the bloc.”
As Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed on Monday, his country also wants Sweden and Finland to roll back the trade restrictions they have imposed on Turkey.
However, as Bloomberg’s sources said on condition of anonymity, Turkey’s wish list is long.
“Turkey wants to be reinstated in the F-35 advanced aircraft program, from which it was excluded after buying S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. It also has a pending request to the United States to purchase dozens of F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits for its existing fleet.“, writes Bloomberg.
Ankara also wants the United States to lift the sanctions Washington imposed on it for buying the S-400 missiles.
NATO issues response to Turkey’s terrorism concerns
The news agency’s sources, however, refuted suggestions that Turkey’s objections to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership were in any way linked to Ankara’s ties with Moscow. . Russia has warned Helsinki and Stockholm against joining the bloc and promised an appropriate response if they create threats.
On Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “Turkey is a valuable ally and any security issues must be resolved.”