Washington is “working to clarify Turkey’s position” after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday. . The United States is seeking “to better understand Turkey’s position”, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, saying that the country was “a valuable NATO ally” and that this had “no exchange”. Turkey “has been involved and effective in trying to establish a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, and it has provided assistance to Ukraine”, he added. “So nothing changes as to its position in the NATO alliance.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he did not want to see “the same mistake made when Greece joined”, a neighbor with whom Turkey has historically had complicated relations. He also accused the two Nordic countries of serving as a “hostel for PKK terrorists”, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, but also by the European Union and the United States.
For some analysts, Turkey could seek to take advantage of a tactical advantage in order to obtain a counterpart from the members of the Alliance. Ankara wishes in particular to acquire American F-16 fighter planes as well as the spare parts necessary for the maintenance and modernization of the F-16s it already has.
The country originally ordered and paid $1.4 billion for an order of F-35 stealth fighter jets, which were never delivered. The entire contract was frozen by the United States in 2019 after Turkey purchased the Russian S-400 anti-missile system, which was seen as a threat to the F-35.
Finland and Sweden can only be admitted to NATO after a unanimous vote of the existing members. The announcement by the Turkish President has cast a chill over this process, which has been supported so far by most NATO members, including the United States, and by the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, who said it was ready to welcome the two Nordic countries “with open arms”.