Turkey not ready to ratify Sweden’s Nato bid says Erdogan

Turkey not ready to ratify Sweden’s Nato bid says Erdogan
Erdogan addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19. / Anadolu Agency video feed, screengrab.
By bne IntelIiNews September 19, 2023

The speculation remains endless over what exactly Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants from Western nations in return for the removal of his barrier blocking Sweden’s path to Nato membership, but, whatever it is, he’s clearly not got it yet.

Turkey’s parliament isn’t ready to ratify Sweden’s Nato accession protocol, Erdogan was on September 18 reported as saying—by sources who spoke to Middle East Eye (MEE)—during a closed-door briefing with analysts and journalists in New York, where world leaders are attending the UN General Assembly. 

The Turkish president was further reported as remarking that “terrorists” who are enemies of Turkey were demonstrating in the streets of Stockholm despite Sweden’s recent amending of its constitution and legislation to assist in the fight against terrorism. 

“My parliament doesn’t view this issue positively, they aren’t ready to ratify Sweden’s accession protocol,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by two sources present at the meeting. 

The Turkish parliament is presently in recess. It will convene at the beginning of October. Erdogan, however, has yet to submit the accession protocol to parliament. 

Turkish officials, according to MEE, still say Turkey will ratify the protocol, but intimate it could be delayed.

Some analysts believe Turkey will green-light Sweden’s Nato membership bid if the US Congress approves a deal to sell billions of dollars' worth of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. 

Turkey is said to be intent on acquiring the F-16s because the US is refusing Ankara the more advanced F-35s due to Turkey’s purchase, against Washington’s wishes, of Russian S-400 missle defence systems. But there's still plenty of resistance in Congress to such a deal, with Turkey’s abysmal human rights record often brought up by lawmakers. Turkish Minute described on September 19 how Erdogan in New York rebuked a journalist who asked him questions about politically motivated arrests in Turkey.

The journalist in question was PBS News Hour's Amna Nawaz. In the interview with Nawaz (in which the rebuke comes minutes before the end of the exchange), Erdogan said he trusts Russia just as much as he trusts the West.

At the end of last week, Erdogan stated Turkey might consider abandoning its bid to join the European Union, an application that has been de facto frozen for several years, partly because many members of the European Parliament are concerned by Ankara's lack of respect for rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.


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