When Sweden and Finland expressed their intention to join NATO, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, did not hide reluctance of Turkey, considering that it would be a “bad idea” because of the leniency of these two Nordic countries to the towards the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK], considered terrorist by the European Union [EU] and the United States, and Fetö, the organization of preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of having inspired an attempted coup of State in Turkey in July 2016.
However, to join NATO, it is necessary to obtain the unanimous agreement of the States which are already members, as Turkey… Also, Sweden and Finland risked seeing their plans thwarted for a long time… At least as long as Ankara would remain on his positions.
However, during the NATO summit organized in Madrid in June 2022, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed an agreement supposed to unblock the situation.
Thus, having confirmed that they considered the PKK to be a terrorist movement, Stockholm and Helsinki undertook not to provide any support to the Syrian Kurds [linked politically to the Kurds of Turkey, editor’s note], to carry out “the fight against terrorism with determination and resolution, in accordance with the provisions of NATO documents and policies, “to unequivocally condemn all terrorist organizations committing attacks” on Turkish soil and to strengthen their cooperation with Anakara in terms of counter-terrorism.
This being the case, one last point was likely to cause some problems… Indeed, the Swedish and Finnish authorities also agreed to deal with requests for the extradition of persons suspected of terrorism sent by Ankara “rapidly” and to establish at this an end to the “necessary bilateral legal frameworks”. And, in the process, a list of 73 names was sent by Turkey to Sweden.
However, this agreement was far from solving everything… For legal questions, first of all. “Non-Swedish people can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition,” Morgan Johansson, then Swedish minister, argued later. of Justice.
Be that as it may, and while 28 countries out of 30 have given their agreement, the accession of Sweden and Finland is still far from certain. While Hungary is expected to give the go-ahead normally, Turkey could still drag its feet for a while, although in December it said it noted “positive steps” taken by Stockholm and Helsinki… while claiming, however, “ other important steps” to overcome his last objections.
“Turkey also confirms that we have done what we said we would do, but it also says that it wants things that we cannot and do not want to give it”, explained Ulf Kristersson, the Prime Minister. Swedish, during the conference on defense and security in Sälen [Sweden], which was attended by Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO. And to add: “We are convinced that Turkey will make a decision, we just don’t know when”.
The concern is that the fate of Helsinki is linked to that of Stockholm. Clearly, the two capitals will join the Alliance together in NATO… This is what Pekka Haavisto, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, reminded us. “Finland is not in such a hurry to join NATO that we cannot wait for Sweden to get the green light,” he told the press.
However, Mr. Stoltenberg wants to be reasonably optimistic. “I expect [the accession to take place in 2023], but I will not guarantee the exact date, because it is of course a sovereign decision of the Turkish Parliament and the Hungarian Parliament, [which] have not yet ratified the agreement,” he said in an interview with AFP.
“We had negotiations in NATO, and they were quite demanding, […] when Turkey, Finland and Sweden agreed on a joint memorandum in which they described how they could intensify their collaboration, both in terms of concerns arms exports, but also, for example, in the fight against terrorism”, he then recalled. And to add: “Finland and Sweden have respected this agreement and are clearly committed to long-term cooperation with Turkey on these issues. Therefore, the time has come to finalize the accession process and ratify the accession protocol”. It remains to be seen when…