Turkey-West deal: EU membership in exchange for approval of Sweden’s NATO bid

MOSCOW:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed that Turkey will ratify Sweden’s NATO membership application in a quid pro quo wh...


MOSCOW:  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed that Turkey will ratify Sweden’s NATO membership application in a quid pro quo wherein Stockholm vows to get behind a re-energized effort by Ankara to join the EU.

TASS has gathered the key takeaways about Turkey’s stance.

Turkey’s decision

Erdogan told the press on Monday, before flying to the NATO summit in Vilnius, that he had agreed to green-light Sweden’s accession to NATO provided that Turkey’s path to European Union membership was reopened. Erdogan later held a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Council President Charles Michel. As a result, Turkey has agreed to formally ratify the required protocol approving Sweden’s accession to NATO as soon as possible.

What Turkey has been promised

Sweden has pledged to make efforts to upgrade the EU-Turkey Customs Union. In addition, Sweden will step up the process of accepting Turkey for EU membership as well as talks on instituting a visa waiver.

In addition, Stockholm has agreed to forsake official support for those organizations that Ankara deems terrorist. These include the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen’s FETO group, which is accused of plotting the July 15, 2016, coup attempt against Erdogan in Turkey. NATO, in turn, will establish a special mechanism for fighting terrorists and establish the post of special envoy for the fight against terrorism.

Sweden’s accession to NATO

Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (unicameral parliament) may potentially approve the protocol formally ratifying Sweden’s NATO application before the end of next week, CNN Turk reported. However, given that the parliament’s summer vacation is set to begin this week, the legislative body is not likely to approve the protocol before reconvening for its fall session on October 1.

Under Turkish law, Sweden’s bid must first be considered by the Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs. After that, it will be submitted for consideration to the parliament’s General Assembly. The process of Ankara approving Stockholm’s NATO membership will be complete once the document is published in the official Resmi Gazete journal and signed into law by Erdogan.

Stoltenberg expects the issue of Sweden’s NATO membership to then be fully resolved as Hungary has said that it would not be the last nation to ratify the protocol.

Reactions to Turkey’s decision

Kristersson pointed out that Stockholm would seek to build a new security dialogue with Ankara.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Turkey’s move but offered no comment on the promises made to Turkey.

Turkey’s Aydinlik newspaper wrote that Erdogan had caved in to the West’s blandishments, driving him to backpedal on his previous negative stance toward Sweden’s NATO aspirations. Turkey’s pro-government media outlets pointed out, however, that Ankara had emerged victorious by receiving numerous guarantees in terms of the fight against terrorism and ensuring support for its EU membership.

US President Joe Biden welcomed Erdogan’s decision. Biden said he was ready to work with Turkey to boost defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic region. However, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted that Turkey’s EU membership and Sweden's accession to NATO were not interconnected processes.

Deliveries of F-16s to Ankara

According to Sullivan, Biden supports the delivery of forty F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and eighty Block 70 upgrade kits to Turkey, as the move is in line with US national interests. However, the aircraft supplies are being blocked in Congress, in particular by Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to Menendez, he is in talks with the Biden administration on lifting the veto, saying that a decision could be forthcoming within the next week.

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg emphasized that Turkey had made it clear that the issue of US airframe deliveries was not part of the Sweden deal.


-News Feed

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Local Glob: Turkey-West deal: EU membership in exchange for approval of Sweden’s NATO bid
Turkey-West deal: EU membership in exchange for approval of Sweden’s NATO bid
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