Sweden’s entry into NATO will have a “deterrent effect in Northern Europe,” according to a report endorsed by the country’s social-democratic government and six of its eight parliamentary forces – excluding environmentalists and former communists. The text, which analyzes the new security situation that has emerged since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, concludes that if “Sweden and Finland become members of the Atlantic Alliance, the Nordic and Baltic countries will be protected by collective defense guarantees.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday expressed his disagreement with the possible entry of the two Scandinavian countries into NATO. Turkey, a member of the Alliance since 1952, was the first partner to publicly declare its opposition. The accession of new countries requires the unanimity of all members of the organization.
According to the Swedish document, “Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine has a character and scope that Europe has not experienced since the Second World War.” And although Sweden already cooperates in the field of defense and security with its “strategic partners”, there are currently no “mandatory defense obligations”. That is, “there is no guarantee that Sweden will receive assistance if it becomes the object of a serious threat or attack,” since Article 5 on collective defense only applies to member countries, emphasizes the document presented this Friday by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of Sweden, Ann Linde. and Peter Hultqvist.
The report emphasizes that there are not many opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation with NATO or in Europe, as “it is clear that there is a lack of political will in the European Union to create collective defence.” In addition, staying out of NATO would force the country to spend more than 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, which is the minimum recommended by the alliance.
“The main consequence of future NATO membership will be that Sweden will become part of its collective security,” Ann Linde told a press conference at NATO, who expressed concerns about the country’s security in the transition period before final integration. . During this time, Linde said, Sweden could have been subject to cyberattacks or provocations, such as violations of its airspace.
The presentation of the report came one day after Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Scandinavian Prime Minister Sanna Marin issued a joint statement calling for an application to join the Atlantic Alliance.
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The Swedish Social Democratic Party, which alone leads a minority government, called an extraordinary meeting of its leadership on Sunday, after which they will make public their position on joining the alliance. The forecasts are such that they are favorable for joining NATO. Next Monday, a special debate on the new security report will be held in the Swedish parliament, in which Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will take part. After the act, the Swedish media believe that an extraordinary meeting of the government may be held, at which it will be announced that the official application for admission has been sent.
“We are monitoring the situation regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not see it positively,” Erdogan told media in Istanbul after Friday prayers for the Nordic countries to move closer to the Alliance.
The Islamist president justified his opposition on the grounds that these countries have “become a safe haven for terrorists”, in particular armed organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the People’s Liberation Revolutionary Front (DNKP-K). Traditionally, the Scandinavian countries have been a haven for numerous activists and politicians from Turkey – pro-Kurdish, leftist or Islamist – fleeing repression in their country, both those who chose peaceful paths and those who were more or less close to these armed groups. anti-terrorism legislation of the European Union and who are still carrying out terrorist attacks on Turkish soil.
“PKK, DHKP-C breed in Sweden, in the Netherlands [sic]. And there they grow and even pass in parliament,” Erdogan criticized. The Turkish government has requested the extradition of many of these exiles, either to Sweden or to other countries through which they passed, as was the case with Turkish-Swedish journalist Hamza Yalcin, who was arrested in Spain in 2017 but taken to Ankara. was finally rejected by the Council of Ministers.
Turkish opposition could destroy the candidacy of Finland and Sweden for NATO, since the approval of new revenues requires the consent of all partners. So far, Turkey has been sympathetic to the organization’s expansions, especially since they have been in countries with which Ankara has excellent relations, such as Albania or North Macedonia. However, Erdogan’s opposition to the Scandinavian candidacy may be a well-orchestrated concession hysteria.
This has already happened with the election of Dane Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Secretary of the Atlantic Alliance in 2009. At the time, the Turkish government, whose prime minister was Erdogan, was outraged at the stance taken by the Danish executive during the Mohammed caricature crisis three years earlier. Finally, Turkey backed Rasmussen’s election in exchange for him apologizing to the Muslim world for the caricature crisis. But above all, what Erdogan’s government achieved in return was the closure of Roj TV, accused of promoting the PKK and broadcasting from Denmark, and the appointment of Turkish soldiers to two senior positions in the new NATO leadership.
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