Erdogan promises that this Friday he will give the go-ahead for Finland’s entry into NATO | International | The USA Print

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that this Friday he would “keep his word” and give the go-ahead for Finland’s entry into NATO, as agreed at the Atlantic Alliance summit in Madrid last year. . After the decision, the process would need to be endorsed by the Turkish Parliament, which will go into recess in mid-April due to the legislative and presidential elections on May 14. The approval of the entry of Sweden is also still in the air, with which the same roadmap was agreed as with Finland, but with which Ankara continues to maintain disagreements.

Despite the fact that the intention of Sweden and Finland was to accede to NATO at the same time, the negotiations of both countries with Turkey have taken place in separate ways. Both States had promised to toughen their laws regarding public demonstrations in support of the Kurdish armed group PKK (considered a terrorist by Turkey and the EU) in their territory, facilitate the extraditions of individuals wanted by the Turkish authorities and lift the embargoes on weapons weighing on Ankara for its interventions abroad.

However, last October, Erdogan explained to the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, that he was satisfied with the measures adopted by Helsinki, which is why he opened the door to facilitating Finnish accession to the Atlantic Alliance while maintaining the veto. about Sweden. “I explained to him that our relations with Finland are different from those with Sweden, because terrorists do not run wild in Finland,” Erdogan said then.

This Wednesday, in response to a question from the press about whether a positive response would be given to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto – who will go to Ankara together with Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto – on Friday, Erdogan replied: “God willing, if It is for the best, we will do what we have to do (…). We will meet the (Finnish) president on Friday and we will keep the promise we made.”

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The Finnish president, for his part, highlighted through an email sent to the Reuters agency: “We knew that when Turkish President Erdogan made the decision regarding Finland’s accession to NATO, he would want a meeting to fulfill his promise as president to president”. Two other Turkish government sources confirmed to the same agency the news that this Friday there will be “positive messages”.

Negotiations with Sweden are another story. In January, a source from the Turkish Executive confirmed to this newspaper that the dialogue with Stockholm had been “suspended” until “an indefinite date” after it found itself in a dead end. The Swedish Prime Minister himself, Ulf Kristersson, explained that, in addition to the measures he had demanded last year and which Stockholm has mostly complied with, Ankara is demanding more concessions. “Things that we cannot or do not want to give,” said the Swedish head of government.

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Turkish leaders have gone so far as to ask that the burning of the Koran be prohibited – such as the one carried out at the beginning of the year by the Danish far-right Rasmus Paludan in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm – or that dolls representing Erdogan be prevented from being symbolically hung , but that clashes with the Swedish legislation, very guaranteeing in matters of freedom of expression. They have also demanded that the extraditions demanded by Turkey of various Turkish citizens who are refugees in Sweden be accelerated, but it is the Justice of that country that has the last word on these cases.

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Some analysts have seen in Erdogan’s opposition to Sweden’s entry into the Alliance a concerted action with Moscow, in the same way that occurs with the blockade exercised by Hungary against Viktor Orbán, which has not yet ratified the entry of the Scandinavians into the Alliance. NATO. The Turkish president has very good relations with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and Moscow has sent funds to the Turkish Central Bank essential to keep the value of the Turkish lira stable.

But it is also true that Erdogan is facing the most difficult election in two decades and his rivals – among whom are strongly nationalist parties – could take advantage of any hint of weakness in the Turkish president. On the other hand, being tough on Sweden on issues that are considered of great importance – respect for the Islamic religion and national security – may play to his advantage among the conservative electorate. Therefore, it is unlikely that progress in the negotiations with Sweden will take place before Turkey concludes its electoral cycle.

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