Erdoğan blocks the membership of Finland and Sweden. What price will you ask for this time? Turkey officially explains its opposition to Sweden and Finland’s membership by supporting Kurdish terrorists. Former NATO Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer believes that domestic political factors may also be behind Erdogan’s demands, as the economic situation in Turkey has been poor for some time. “You can always mobilize a large part of the population by linking terrorism and the PKK,” he says. Erdogan’s conflict with the Americans is also behind the new dispute. The split between Washington and Ankara was caused by the Turkish purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system. The United States warned that the system could not be integrated into the alliance’s common air defense, and feared that the presence of Russian technicians during the operation could help Moscow find ways to better detect unmistakable F-35 fighters. Turkey, which was then part of the F-35 project, so the Americans expelled from this project, imposed sanctions and stopped the supply of the latest fighters. The Turks were outraged, claiming that they had chosen the Russian systems only because the Americans had refused to sell them the Patriot. This is not entirely true – the Americans offered the Turks Patriots, but under the same conditions as any other state. It was not enough for the Turks, in addition to supplying the Patriot, they also requested a technology transfer that would eventually allow them to develop their own system. The Turks eventually surrendered to the S-400 and gave up the F-35, but not without Erdogan threatening to buy Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighters. However, Ankara did not take real steps in this direction and instead considered acquiring a US F-16. But so far this effort has led nowhere, the Biden administration has not rushed to decide how to continue treating Turkey. According to De Hoop Scheffer, Turkey may now have a chance to get new aircraft and demand at least a partial lifting of sanctions. “This price could be such that Americans will cancel their F-16 block,” he said. According to other experts, the supply of F-16 fighters and the agreement with Washington will not solve the problem. Many Kurds live in Sweden, some of whom, according to Turkey, support PKK separatists. Turkey considers the PKK to be a terrorist group. Former Turkish diplomat Sinan Ülgen therefore thinks that the Swedish government “must show that it has changed its mind” in this matter. Transparent egoism The behavior of the Turkish president in NATO is somewhat reminiscent of an interview from The Big Short about the financial crisis in 2008. “How come he didn’t hate this guy? He is everything you have taught us not to believe, “one of the protagonists of his colleague asks after a slimy banker offers them a pofider, but ultimately advantageous business. “I can’t hate him. In his selfishness, he is so transparent that in a way I respect him, “says Steve Carell in the role of Mark Baum. It is similar with the Turkish opposition to the accession of Stockholm and Helsinki to the Alliance – Ankara is not even trying to hide the fact that it is motivated by purely selfish interests. Politico recalls that such behavior of Turkey has a long tradition in NATO, “Erdoğan has experience in using the decisions of large alliances to obtain concessions.” He quoted Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Secretary-General from 2004 to 2009, as saying: “The price is still unknown, but it will be clear that the award will be clear.” withdrew after gaining the position of one of the assistant secretaries. The NATO executive thinks that the membership of the two Nordic states would “change the internal political balance within NATO” – to the detriment of Turkey. Turkey has been shrinking space for the opposition, journalists’ prisoners and members of civil society since 2016 at the latest. In fact, according to some critics, it no longer meets the basic preconditions for NATO membership, namely a democratic state establishment. So far, while other member states have criticized the repression in Turkey, they have not wanted to take tough steps. Turkey was too important a strategic partner, which they did not dare to anger too much. Ankara played not only the control of the straits at the entrance to the Black Sea, but also the fact that, unlike comfortable European Turks, they were still willing to maintain a large conventional army. The war in Ukraine has even strengthened Turkey’s importance. However, Sweden and Finland are excellently armed, with their membership the importance of Turkey would decline and, as Politico suggests, the fact that these are stable democracies will reinforce this effect. Can we entrust Ankara with the security of the republic? We should also pay close attention to developments in Turkey because of the possibility that Turkey will soon become a supplier of key defense technologies. The Ministry of Defense considers the procurement of reconnaissance drones to be one of the priorities of military procurement during this legislative period, and Minister Jaroslav Naď met with the Turkish delegation in April. In an interview with the Attitude, the Minister said: “We are doing market research and there are three options. Turkey, Israel or the USA. With everything being a matter of money. My view is that we should follow a healthy middle ground. You can also buy top amazing equipment, but the price is in the hundreds of millions. The question is whether our army could use it. ”The minister’s words can be read as an indication that cheaper Turkish drones are among the favorites. Bayraktar’s drones are not without controversy, the Baykar company that produces them is closely connected with the Turkish state: Its director Selçuk Bayraktar is President Erdoğan’s son-in-law, and in 2016 he married his youngest daughter Sümeyye. Still, Bayraktar drones are not a bad choice. Not only the low price speaks in their favor, but also their success in the wars in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, where they have shown their usefulness. In addition to neighboring Ukraine, Poland also ordered 24 of them last year. An alternative could be drones from Israel, for example, Germany and Greece chose the Israeli Heron. Although Israeli drones are considered advanced and of high quality, they are sold at premium prices compared to Turkish machines. And American drones also play in a different league than the Turkish ones. On the other hand, the issue of national security must not cost and fall on the millions. Even worse than having to invest a few tens of millions in addition would be to throw away hundreds of millions in investments in a system in which Slovakia will depend on the goodwill of a non-cooperative partner. The MiG-29 fighters, which are virtually worthless because we cannot use them without the help of Russian technicians, should be a frightening example here. At least in the case of Ukraine, Turkey has so far proved to be a reliable supplier that supplies additional drones during the war. However, the Turkish blockade of Finland and Sweden undermines Turkey’s image as a reliable ally, and before the war, the procurement of Russian S-400 systems and the impression that Erdogan played it in foreign policy did not help. That is why it will be important to see how Turkey behaves in the case. Ankara’s attempts to defend its national interest are, to some extent, understandable and legitimate. But only to a certain extent – if the Turkish pursuit of its own goals is to the detriment of the Alliance, Slovakia should take note of this and take appropriate action.
Welcome! Log into your account
Recover your password
A password will be e-mailed to you.