Sweden and Nato: what is Erdoğan holding out for?
As delegations from Sweden and Turkey met in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkish President Erdoğan again dampened expectations that Sweden will join Nato soon. Although Sweden’s counter-terrorism laws have been tightened and the Supreme Court recently approved the first extradition of a PKK supporter, Turkey’s demands have not yet been met, Erdoğan said. But his real focus is the US, commentators suspect.
Washington and Ankara haggling
Svenska Dagbladet feels reminded of the haggling at a bazaar:
“It has long been an open secret that Turkey sees a connection between Sweden’s membership and its own wish to buy American F-16 fighter jets. ... Biden is open to the deal but there is opposition in Congress to selling fighter jets to Turkey before Sweden has been given the green light for Nato membership. The real bazaar haggling is therefore between Washington and Ankara. And Erdoğan’s offer to Biden can be summed up as follows: I can make sure you don’t lose face — if you get Congress to allow us to buy the planes.”
Get Erdoğan to show his cards
The back-and-forth between the US and Turkey is like a game of poker, says Dagens Nyheter:
“Erdoğan must be convinced to play his trump cards before the Americans do — and thus be deprived of the opportunity to ask for more. Because the Americans want something. They know that Swedish membership will be a gamechanger. It will show that Nato’s door really is wide open and that Vladimir Putin can’t dictate the security policy decisions of European countries. And it will make the alliance more secure if the Baltic Sea practically becomes its internal sea. It will be easier and cheaper for Washington to honour its security guarantees in the region. So there’s a limit to how long Erdoğan can keep blocking.”
The US is losing its patience
Hungary continues to oppose Sweden’s accession to Nato alongside Turkey, Denník N reminds readers:
“Because of this refusal, the head of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is now blocking the delivery of an agreed weapons package to Budapest. ... It is obvious that Turkey and Hungary are coordinating their actions. Finland’s accession was approved by both countries in March, four days apart. But nothing is happening with Sweden. Ankara is demanding that the anti-Turkish protests in Sweden stop. Budapest objects to Sweden’s criticism regarding the rule of law. While Turkey and Hungary irresponsibly escalate bilateral disputes over the functioning of the Alliance, the Americans are gradually losing their patience.”