Turkey has followed a stance that supports the open door policy of NATO, of which it has been a member since 1952. The reason for Sweden and Finland's objection to the participation is that these two Scandinavian countries do not support Turkey's fight against terrorism and support the YPG, the Syrian extension of the PKK.
PKK; is described as a "terrorist organization" by the United States of America, the European Union and the United Kingdom. However, the PKK-affiliated YPG is the main partner of the US-led coalition fighting against ISIS in northern Syria.
Ankara states that both Sweden and Finland host PKK members. Turkey states that Sweden provides military equipment and financial support to the YPG. In addition, Turkey keeps on the agenda the non-extradition of 21 people it requested from Sweden and 12 people it requested from Finland.
Both countries imposed an arms embargo on Turkey after Operation Peace Spring, which was carried out in northern Syria in 2019 and targeted the YPG. This is one of the issues that makes the participation of the two countries in NATO problematic for Ankara.
Erdogan's chief adviser, İbrahim Kalın, gave a negotiation message, noting that the door was not completely closed and that Turkey's security requirements had to be met. Turkey, in particular, asks Sweden to abandon the behavior and politics that it thinks endanger its own security, and to cut military support to the YPG. It also demands that the arms embargo imposed on Turkey by NATO countries, especially Sweden, be lifted.
President Erdogan, in a speech on Monday, said:
"The weapons that were not paid for us were transferred to bloody terrorist organizations with trucks on the pretext of fighting ISIS. Today, those who praised Turkey's contribution to NATO were ruthlessly criticizing our country until yesterday. While our role in NATO is obvious, we are still talking about sanctions with our allies.
We cannot put aside Sweden's sanctions against Turkey. As a country that pays the price for NATO, we want to see concrete steps rather than open-ended, diplomatic statements regarding our national security."
WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT STEP OF TURKEY?
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos that Sweden and Finland will attend the NATO summit, which will be held in Madrid next month.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Swedish and Finnish delegations will come to Turkey tomorrow to consult on NATO membership applications.
According to the ministry's statement, Swedish and Finnish delegations headed by Swedish Prime Minister's Office State Secretary Oscar Stenström and Finnish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Jukka Salovaara will arrive in Ankara on Wednesday.
The delegation led by Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador İbrahim Kalın and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal, and the delegations headed by Stenström and Salovaara, will hold consultations on Sweden and Finland's applications for NATO membership.
If the new geopolitics created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine require Finland and Sweden to become members quickly, the leading members of NATO should persuade these two countries to meet Turkey's demands.
On the other hand, the statements of Turkish officials until now had opposed the NATO membership of both countries. However, some experts argue that Turkey's NATO membership process of Finland and Sweden should be evaluated separately. The book PKK Structure in Europe, published by SETA, shows Sweden's aggressive and hostile policy regarding the PKK-YPG. Finland, on the other hand, gives messages closer to a diplomatic solution to Turkey's concerns compared to Sweden.