NATO: The background of the Turkish “yes” for Finland and Sweden – The Greek reaction

NATO Turkey Sweden Finland

Shortly before the official dinner of the NATO Summit at the Palacio Real in Madrid, came the big news, for which there had been ferment for days: Turkey finally said “yes” after Erdoğan’s tripartite meeting with Swedish Prime Minister and Finnish President for the two countries to become members.

It was not a completely unexpected development, despite the difficulties of the previous days. It was clear that Turkey was under pressure from all directions not to create a problem in NATO, especially at this juncture.

Perhaps an omen was the “unlocking” of the Erdoğan-Biden meeting, as the American president is unlikely to have been unaware of Turkey’s intention to withdraw from its “veto” threat.

The exchanges

At first reading, Erdoğan must have received specific rewards in order to step down from his position. According to a source who spoke to Proto Thema, these do not concern Greece and may, in the end, not be so… spectacular, something that remains to be seen.

In the first phase, the lifting of the arms embargo could be cited as a “tangible” gain, mainly from Sweden, which has a well-developed defence industry, although this does not mean that Turkey will be immediately supplied with Swedish arms.

Sweden and Finland are also committed to condemning the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), something they are already doing as members of the EU.

The two countries will cut off all support to the People’s Defence Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the PKK, as well as Fethullah Gülen’s organisations, which is more of a political symbolism for Ankara than a substantial retreat for Stockholm and Helsinki.

The new tripartite co-operation will take shape with the establishment of a mechanism involving officials from the three countries’ Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Intelligence.

With a first reading of the two-page compromise between the two countries, which was signed in the NATO press room, one cannot easily distinguish what are the major and essential concessions made by the two Scandinavian countries.

Maybe because they do not exist…

In this light, many consider that Erdoğan made a regular maneuver, realising the surrounding atmosphere, and chose a way to send a message to the internal audience that a winner is coming out of a long and difficult negotiation, which, of course, he made it long and difficult for no reason.

If there will be other benefits for Turkey, this is something that remains to be seen.

For other Western leaders, however, it is not easy to make other substantial concessions to Erdoğan, who certainly did not gain friends in Europe and the United States with his “NATO blackmail” at such a critical juncture for the Alliance.

The Greek reaction

The prospect of accession of the two Scandinavian countries and EU members in NATO did not surprise Athens, which realised in recent days that steps are being taken in this direction.

Government sources expressed Greece’s satisfaction with the positive development, as well as with the fact that “the negotiations of the Turkish president did not last long.”

Greece from the beginning was unequivocally in favour of the expansion of the Alliance with the two countries.

The same source estimated that the agreement of Turkey has no effect on Greek-Turkish relations.

From the perspective of the Athens, the European wing of NATO being strengthened is considered to be part of its interests.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had the opportunity to talk briefly with US President Joe Biden, who reportedly spoke warmly about last month’s visit to Washington.

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