Seen as a rogue outlier in Nato, Turkey found and acted upon the opportunity to get the West to support its military operation in northern Syria. Turkish forces and alleged mercenaries occupy parts of this region. A vast array of human rights abuses was reported during the peak of its military intervention and Ankara faced condemnation from the Western world. All major NATO members including Germany, France, UK and Canada have refused arms sales to Erdogan’s Turkey. Tensions further escalated when Turkey stepped up its belligerence towards fellow Nato member Greece in the eastern Mediterranean and the West largely backed Athens through this tussle. The list of Turkey’s excesses can go on, but the West has decided to overlook all that now. US President Biden’s own stance on Turkey used to be one of admonishment. Today, that seems to change with Ankara’s new leverage in the game.
Mr Erdogan will now expect Sweden and Finland to adhere to the spirit, and not just the (notably vague) letter, of the agreement. This means he will demand they back a future Turkish operation in Syria to combat the YPG, who happen to be the West’s main allies against Islamic State, support Ankara’s plans to expel and forcibly resettle over one million Syrian refugees in northern Syria, take concrete steps to extradite alleged members of the PKK and Gulen movement to face trial, unlikely to be fair, in Turkey, and keep schtum about Turkey’s poor human rights records and abuses of fundamental democratic freedoms.
Turkey will seize on any hemming and hawing on these issues as evidence of bad faith, if not betrayal, and a just cause to reignite a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the West. Turkey under Erdogan is a fundamentally untrustworthy ally. The NATO deal has triggered a countdown to the next noisy but inevitable conflagration.
Historic rivals, Turkey and Greece have been at odds over issues ranging from overflights and the status of Aegean islands, maritime boundaries and hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean, and ethnically-split Cyprus.
Tensions flared again recently over air space and the status of demilitarised islands in the Aegean. Erdogan has said Mitsotakis “no longer exists for him” after the Greek premier lobbied for the United States not to sell Turkey F-16 fighter jets during a speech at the U.S. Congress.
Turkey’s hopes that developments at this week’s Nato Madrid summit moved it closer to obtaining F-16 warplanes from the US were on June 20 tempered by an announcement that regional arch-rival Greece has sent an official request to Washington for the acquisition of 20 of the world’s most advanced fighter plane, the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jet.
Ankara remains unable to get its hands on the scores of F-35s it has ordered. It remains locked out of the F-35 development programme, with US and Nato officials saying they are concerned that S-400 advanced missile defence systems bought from the Kremlin by Turkey could pose a security threat to F-35 perfo
A trio of senior administration officials detail the first day of NATO Summit in Madrid. Here’s what they told The Pavlovic Today. The new NATO strategic concept will be released shortly and focuses heavily on Russia. But it also, for the first time, mentions China. The document will note that China’s stated ambitions and challenge …
The US did not offer Turkey anything to get Erdogan to drop his objections to allowing Sweden and Finland into the alliance, a trio of senior administration officials claim – The Pavlovic Today Read More »
Before the text was released, Turkish officials circulated to media outlets a note titled “Turkey got what it wanted.” Finland’s leading newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, wrote in an editorial that “Turkey got what it wanted – and so did Finland and Sweden.”
“The memorandum was the price that had to be paid for the weird style of dealings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that at the same time represents typical behavior to Turkey,” the Finnish newspaper said.
While arguing against making Sweden and Finland NATO members, Erdogan showed videos and photographs of PKK demonstrations in Sweden as evidence of his claim of Swedish indifference to terrorism.
The ninth trilateral summit, focusing on energy and boosting trilateral cooperation, is part of a cooperation mechanism launched in 2014 between the three countries. Egypt on Saturday signed an accord with Cyprus on linkage between the two countries’ electricity transmission networks. Two days earlier, Egypt also signed with Greece an agreement on an undersea cable …