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Turkey, Sweden Strike EU-NATO Deal

Turkey, Sweden Strike EU-NATO Deal

By RZR News Team
Jul 18, 2023

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Analysis

The recent E.U.-NATO agreement between Turkey and Sweden has raised concerns among many, as it appears to be a short-sighted decision with potentially far-reaching consequences as it pertains to Russia’s war with Ukraine and international relations with foreign powers. While international cooperation is essential, this particular agreement could inadvertently provoke Russia and intensify its aggression in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, ultimately undermining the interests of the United States.

Turkey and Sweden’s partnership within the E.U.-NATO framework should be evaluated through a realistic lens. Russia has consistently demonstrated its assertiveness in its dealings with neighboring countries, particularly Ukraine. By strengthening ties with NATO, these nations risk escalating tensions and provoking an already emboldened Russia.

It is crucial to consider the potential ramifications of this agreement for the United States. Heightened aggression from Russia could disrupt regional stability and threaten the security of NATO allies, which, unfortunately, includes the United States. Such a scenario would require a significant commitment of fiscal, military and other resources and could divert attention and resources from other pressing national security concerns.

Furthermore, it is imperative to evaluate the long-term consequences of aligning with countries whose interests and values may not fully align with those of the United States. Sweden, in particular, has taken a more passive approach to defense spending, placing a heavier reliance on its NATO partners. This raises questions about the sustainability and reliability of their commitment to an allegedly “collective” defense effort.

It would be wise to advocate for a cautious approach that prioritizes the preservation of peace and stability in the region. While cooperation among European nations is vital, it should not come at the expense of triggering further aggression from Russia. The United States should encourage dialogue and diplomacy while maintaining a strong stance in defense of its interests and those of its allies.

In conclusion, the E.U.-NATO deal between Turkey and Sweden requires thoughtful consideration of its potential consequences. The risk of escalating tensions with Russia and diverting resources from other pressing national security priorities should give pause. The United States must advocate for prudent decision-making that safeguards the interests of its allies while preserving regional stability and maintaining a strong national defense.

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed on ending the veto and supporting Sweden’s bid to join NATO on Monday, a move that will expand the military alliance and strengthen its Baltic flank as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. Many world leaders have given positive responses to Turkey backing Sweden in NATO’s entry. Sweden along with Finland applied for NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine last year. With Turkey’s support of the bid, Sweden is now on the cusp of joining NATO. 

Sweden is not a formal member but has always had a close relationship with NATO for nearly 3 decades. It has always contributed to NATO missions and worked closely with the majority of European NATO allies. By pushing for membership, Sweden has shifted its policy of military non-alignment. The motive behind this appears to clearly be Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish membership will help NATO support its defense of the whole Nordic and Baltic regions and reinforce its presence in the Arctic. Sweden would also bring a capable air force that consists of fourth-generation Gripen fighters and quality air defenses. 

For some time Turkey was opposed to Sweden joining NATO because of its connections to the Kurdistan Workers Party. Turkey accused Sweden of hosting Kurdish militants and NATO viewed this as a security concern. The step including Sweden is a major one and it seems as though it’s a matter of differences being put aside for a bigger cause. It sends a message to Vladimir Putin that more countries are on the side of Ukraine that Putin invaded in 2022. After that, it likely has caused some worry about the general well-being of the nation, regarding that if Putin can attack Ukraine in the matter he did then they could be next. So, this bid, which could be a possible step toward securing membership, would bring a stronger alliance. 

– Briauna B.

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After a year of stalling and months of pressure from the Biden administration, the Turkish government has finally agreed to support Sweden’s induction into NATO – for a price. E.U. membership has been a long-term policy goal of Turkey since the 1980s, but Turkey’s disdain for human rights and ongoing disputes with Greece have kept the country’s E.U. application perpetually frozen. But now Erdogan has found a way to use Europe’s security interests as a bargaining chip to leverage Turkey into potential E.U. membership.  

This does not mean the future is set in stone, though. Turkey could change its mind at any moment and E.U. diplomats remain skeptical of Turkey’s chances of joining the union. The European Union requires that all members uphold the rule of law and abide by certain standards of liberal democracy; the Turkish government’s crackdown on political opposition and its violent history of discrimination against Kurds have raised several alarm bells throughout the E.U. Ultimately Erdogan himself might be Turkey’s biggest obstacle to EU membership. As president, he has frequently picked fights with Europe and meanwhile, Ankara’s cozy relationship with Moscow has made it difficult for Erdogan to balance his E.U. ambitions with his desire to remain economically close to Russia.

With this in mind, the E.U. is not above ignoring its own principles to maintain its security interests. In the past the EU has relied on Turkey to control the flow of migrants and refugees trying to enter Europe, a decision which has made the E.U. complacent in the abuse of thousands of Syrian refugees by Turkish authorities. Erdogan has used this fact in negotiations before, threatening to flood Europe with migrants if the E.U. criticizes his policies too harshly. For the most part, it’s been working. Sweden was one of the few countries in Europe to consistently criticize Turkey – thanks in no part to their fairly sizable Kurdish minority. Sweden has in the past offered support to the Kurdish movement, but with NATO membership on the horizon, Swedish Kurds are now rightfully afraid the country will choose NATO induction over human rights.

There is an overwhelming consensus in Sweden to join NATO, so It should not come as much of a surprise that the country would ultimately throw the Kurds under the bus, especially given how Russia’s war with Ukraine shattered the status quo in Europe. The Kurdish people have been victims of decades of political persecution and repression at the hands of the Turkish state. While supporting the Kurds might be the morally correct decision for Sweden, it offers very few political benefits, hence why Sweden is now turning over Kurds to the Turkish government. 

Now that Turkey has agreed to vote on Sweden’s NATO application it looks increasingly likely that NATO will have its 32nd member, much to the ire of Russia. Yet that does not mean the E.U. has to give in to Turkey’s blackmail and approve their E.U. membership – after all, once Sweden finally does join NATO, Erdogan can’t use membership as a hostage anymore. 

– Matthew Kimball

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In an ostensible measure of good grace, Turkey President Recep Erdogan has officially approved Sweden’s admission to NATO. One could call it ostensible because as Erdogan bluntly puts it, Turkey has “for over 50 years been kept waiting at the door of the European Union.” An interesting quote from Erdogan, one that perhaps needs a little context to be better understood. 

Turkey from a geographic standpoint sits in an interesting location. Surrounded by the Aegean, Black and Mediterranean Seas, it is a natural peninsula that in some ways bridges the continental divide between Europe and Asia. From a political, economic, and even social standpoint, one would think this would be an excellent liaison for the European Union to strengthen relations with continental Asia. 

Furthermore, one must look at the political stage at the moment, and consider once again geography. Sweden and Finland have both applied within the last year for NATO status, as a security measure in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland and Sweden are geographic neighbors, occupying the northern tip of Europe. Finland also shares a border with Russia, making an invasion of the country a very real possibility. 

With that in mind, it makes sense why they want to join. There is the old maxim: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” However, for better or worse for a country to enter into NATO, all existing members must agree that the country is ok to join the alliance. Turkey, especially under Erdogan’s rule has become a bit of a tough nut to crack; therefore, it is interesting that they voted yes for Sweden, perhaps in hopes of their invitation into NATO.

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