NATO: Hope for speedy membership for Sweden and Finland is fading

As Sweden and Finland continue talks with Turkey on Monday over their NATO membership, hopes for a quick entry into the alliance look increasingly remote due to the stalemate over the Kurdish file.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is set to meet Turkish, Swedish and Finnish representatives in Brussels on Monday, hoping to resolve the situation before the alliance summit in Madrid next week.

Prior to last month’s sudden Turkish blockade, Stockholm and Helsinki – as well as NATO’s leadership in Brussels – had hoped for a speedy process to join the alliance, with the expectation of achieving the necessary consensus of the current 30 members. Madrid meeting.

“We are ready for that to take some time,” Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde told the Swedish press on Monday from Luxembourg.

Last week, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin acknowledged the danger of seeing things “frozen” if the dispute was not resolved quickly.

But Germany played down the consequences of a delay of “a few weeks” on Monday, believing that there would be no “insurmountable difficulties” to lift the blockade.

“Given the historical dimension” of the Sweden and Finland candidates, said a German government source, “it wouldn’t be a disaster if we needed a few more weeks” to find a compromise.

Last Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded “concrete actions” from the two northern European capitals, and demanded that Ankara make written pledges.

Turkey accuses the two countries – in particular Sweden – of supporting Kurdish groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units, which it considers “terrorist”.

It also demands the lifting of the arms export embargo decided by the Nordic countries after the Turkish military intervention in northern Syria in October 2019, the tightening of Swedish anti-terror legislation, and the extradition of many people it calls ‘terrorists’.

For Paul Levin, director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Stockholm University, the release in the coming days is “possible but it will be very difficult”. “It requires both sides to show a real willingness to make some concessions,” he told AFP.

Sweden was one of the first countries to designate the PKK as a “terrorist organization” in the 1980s. But like many Western countries, it has expressed support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the PKK’s allies in Syria who have fought the jihadists of the group. Islam besides the United States in particular.

Stockholm has already made some gestures, notably emphasizing that joining NATO could change the position of its authority responsible for arms exports in relation to Turkey.

MP key

Sweden has also tightened its anti-terror legislation in recent years and a new tightening is set to take effect on 1Verse July, Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson said last week.

“There is a real conflict between Sweden’s view on the Kurdish question and Turkish demands on Sweden,” Benish-Bjorkmann, a professor of political science at Uppsala University, told me.

This dilemma is most evident in the role played in recent weeks by Swedish MP of Iranian-Kurdish origin, Amina Kakapavi, who opposes any concession to President Erdogan.

Because of the precarious balances in the Swedish Parliament, his vote is necessary to ensure the support of Magdalena Andersson’s social democratic minority government.

The deputy, who had already secured an agreement last November to allow the election of MI And Anderson threatened not to support the government’s budget on Wednesday, and asked for a clear pledge to impose an arms embargo on Turkey.

But this MP’s role should diminish with Parliament’s recess between now and the September 11 elections. She sits outside any parliamentary group since leaving the Left Party, and has very little chance of being re-elected.

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