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Turkey on Finland and Sweden wanting to join NATO

In this last newsletter, we cover the lift of Turkey’s veto on Finland and Sweden to join NATO and dig into relevant insights about the situation. As said, this is the last newsletter of this semester, but we will be back in September with more interesting and entertaining articles! The PES Journal Committee thanks you for supporting us and will see you in September!

🕑 3 min By Matthias Sciollintano

1. Changing mind

Between the 28th and 30th of June 2022 was the Madrid Summit where all NATO leaders gather in order to discuss important subjects that concern the organization. Subjects such as the role of Russia in the security of the world were treated, but the decision which made the most noise was Turkey’s lift of their veto on the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO. Turkey’s President Erdogan, Finland’s President Niinistö, and Swedish Prime Minister Andersson reached an agreement on Tuesday night after what was described as intense negotiations and signed a memorandum for the occasion. But why did Turkey change their mind? And what does it mean for the future of NATO?

2. Finland, Sweden, and NATO

In the past, Sweden and Finland were not interested to join NATO at all due to two major points: the first being the mixed opinion of their population and the second and most important one being, according to them, the unnecessary provocation of the Kremlin it would represent. With Finland sharing a large part of its border with Russia, it thus can be understood that they would not be willing to take any risk on that matter. However, this all changed when the Russian-Ukrainian war began in February 2022. With Russia becoming a true threat to Ukraine but also its neighboring countries, Finland and Sweden asked to join NATO as it would provide them with security from nuclear states. Nevertheless, as NATO works with a consensus system, for the two aforementioned countries to join the organization, it would require all members to agree with their entry, and one of them did not Turkey. But why?

3. Turkey's view

Turkey’s aversion can be explained by 3 letters, the PKK, which stands for the Kurdish Workers’ Party. This group is a Kurdish Marxist separatist movement active since the 1980s in southeastern Turkey and which has been fighting the nation’s military since then.

It is considered a terrorist group by Erdogan’s country, the U.S., the EU, Australia, Canada, and also by Sweden, and Finland. However, despite the two latter publicly denouncing the group, Turkey has accused both Scandinavian countries of actively supporting the terrorist group by hiding some of its members within their borders, and by refusing to sell weapons to the Turkish forces. Therefore, after declaring to tighten laws on terrorism and working to get an approval to export weapons to Turkey, the 3 players found an agreement.

4. For the Future?

Many politicians declared being pleased with the agreement, such as Boris Johnson, and Joe Biden. The former declared that the alliance was now stronger and safer, as the two countries have military conscription, allowing them to deploy considerable manpower. It is clear that if Moscow was planning to invade Finland in the future, it will now certainly reconsider the operation as the backfire might just not be worth it anymore. However, earlier in 2022, President Vladimir Putin warned both countries that consequences had to be expected if such an agreement was settled. Therefore, we can only wait and see whether these words were just intimidation or serious threats. Sources: EuroNews, The Guardian, BBC News, CNBC, Bloomberg

Written by Matthias Sciollintano

June 2022

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