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Why is the US in favor and Turkey against Finland and Sweden in NATO?

Militares espanhóis da OTAN na Base Militar de Adazi na Letônia, em 28 de abril de 2022.

Spanish NATO soldiers at the Adazi Military Base in Latvia, in

of April 1949.

| Photo: EFE/EPA/VALDA KALNINA

Finland and Sweden forwarded the official request for entry into NATO this Wednesday (). Approval, however, depends on unanimous acceptance by the 30 countries that are part of the Alliance. In this, there is an obstacle: acceptance by Turkey.

The Turkish diplomacy chief Mevlüt Cavusoglu wants to prevent the two countries from entering the allies’ meeting. “There is a great need for security guarantees. They must stop supporting terrorist organizations”, opined Cavusoglu, referring to the protection of countries in relation to Kurdish militants.

The two Nordic countries are accused by Turkey of harboring members of the PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, classified as a terrorist organization by Ankara. ), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no it is possible to accept the proposed entry of the countries. “Supporting terrorism and asking for our support is a lack of consistency”, insisted the head of state.

He further urged the Alliance to show goodwill towards Turkey’s efforts to secure its borders. PKK fighters are mainly based in neighboring countries: Iraq, Syria and Iran. Erdogan continued, more forcefully: “None of our allies have ever respected these concerns.”

As a bargaining chip for signing the entry permit of new members, Turkey asked for an end to the embargo imposed by some member states on the export of Turkish arms. Today, Canada prevents the delivery of Turkish drones, alleging that they were used by the Azeris in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (Armenians and Azeris, with Turkish and Russian support, dispute a historic mountainous region; the conflict reached its height in the early 1990s 19 with the end of the Soviet Union and again suffered an escalation in the year in 2020).

Others 29 countries approve entry, especially the United States

During last weekend’s meeting between NATO members, the head of Luxembourg diplomacy, Jean Asselborn, stated: “If both want to join, none of the thirty can oppose”. Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, the German Markus Weber, criticized the Turkish opposition.

The United States has already declared its full support for the entry of Finland and Sweden and in NATO. In a statement published this Wednesday ( ), US President Joe Biden said he “warmly welcomes and strongly supports Finland’s and Sweden’s historic bids for NATO membership.”

The Democratic president received Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House this Thursday (). Biden said at the time that “the United States will work with both countries against security threats and to discourage any aggression.” He also assured that candidates for alliance membership can now count on US military protection.

NATO chief general Jens Stoltenberg agrees. “Finland and Sweden will be very well received”, said the Norwegian at a press conference at the end of April.

At the ceremony in Brussels for receiving NATO entry requests, this Wednesday (

), Stoltenberg left in the air the strong tendency for the approval of the countries in the Alliance. “Every nation has the right to choose its own path. Both made a choice after rigorous democratic processes. I warmly welcome Finland and Sweden’s requests to join NATO,” he said.

In fact, the Alliance was founded in the context of the bipolarity of the Cold War, in 1949, which involved the United States and the Soviet Union in ideological and political conflicts. The expansion of NATO is the reinforcement of the security of the North American country itself. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in an attempt to weaken the Western Alliance, was a shot in the foot.

With the war, Russia strengthens NATO

The pretext for the Russian invasion of the neighboring country was the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. War, however, instead of shrinking the Alliance, can double the size of the border it makes with Russia.

And, in the package of changes, with the probable accession of Finland to NATO, there is an ideological reorganization in Europe. The country, which even generated the term “Finlandization”, referring to neutral states, will finally take a stand.

What Russia can do from there is still an open question. As well as the risks that both countries run in taking this diplomatic step. In the last meetings of the allies, the representatives of the countries commented on the possible increase of the pressure of Moscow against Sweden and Finland.

And this will occur as long as the two Nordic countries cannot formally benefit from the provisions of Article 5 of the NATO treaty. It guarantees its members the full guarantee of military support from the allies, should they fall victim to an attack.

Recently, in retaliation, Russia stopped electricity deliveries to Finland. The two neighbors could be Russia’s next targets. However, they have already taken many more steps towards joining NATO than Ukraine, which was invaded during the first polls regarding this possibility.

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