Erdoğan’s NATO comments became big news in Sweden

Paul Levin, director of the Turkish Studies Institute at Stockholm University, says that there was nothing new in the Turkish president’s speeches, but he was more outspoken than before.


Turkey presidential Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday evening’s comments became big news in Sweden as well.

According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, Erdoğan gives the green light to Finland’s NATO membership. On the other hand, Erdoğan did not find support for Sweden’s membership.

“We can give a different message about Finland if necessary. Sweden will be shocked when we communicate differently from Finland,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech he gave to Turkish youth.

Read more: Erdoğan: Turkey could accept Finland into NATO – “Sweden will be shocked when we communicate differently about Finland”

Swedish news agency TT writes that “Turkey could accept Finland’s NATO application, even if it rejects Sweden’s application.”

Interviewed by TT, director of the Institute of Turkish Studies at Stockholm University Paul Levin says that Erdoğan’s Sunday comment in itself is not a big change from before.

“I don’t know if President Erdoğan has previously expressed himself as clearly on this issue, but actually there hasn’t been much change,” he says.

According to Levin, Erdoğan underlines that he has a problem specifically with Sweden.

On Sunday night Sweden’s SVT In the Agenda news program in the presented interview, the former security policy advisor of the White House John Bolton criticized Turkey’s actions.

Donald Trump’s Bolton, who worked for the administration, said that Turkey should be excluded from NATO, among other things, because of how Turkey has treated and pressured Sweden and Finland.

“We need to consider how we treat Turkey as an ally,” Bolton said in a Swedish interview.

Turkey and Sweden already cooled down earlier in January after activists hung a doll resembling Erdoğan by its feet in front of the Stockholm City Hall.

A week ago on Saturday, a Danish far-right politician who opposes Islam Rasmus Paludan smoked of the Koran Outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

Erdoğan announced on Monday evening that Sweden should not expect to receive Turkey’s support for joining NATO.

On Tuesday, the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto gave an interview to Yle in the morning, which became big news not only in Finland but also in Sweden. Haaviston was interpreted as having opened the possibility for Finland to advance to NATO membership without Sweden.

During Tuesday, Haavisto clarified his words and emphasized that Finland’s line has not changed.

On Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf KristerssonMinister of Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström and the Minister of Defense Pål Jonson held an extra NATO briefing.

Kristersson said that nothing is now as important for Sweden’s national security as the fact that Sweden becomes a member of NATO together with Finland.

“I want us to take this seriously now. The situation is very serious,” he said.

By Editor

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