Meeting in Madrid for the Alliance summit, Turkey and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum lifting the blockage posed by the Turkish head of state. Special envoy to Madrid, Turkey did not take its allies head-on. Even before the official opening dinner of the NATO summit on Tuesday evening in Madrid, Spain, Ankara reached an agreement with Finland and Sweden not to block their membership of the Atlantic Alliance. Without waiting for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with US President Joe Biden, and that with French President Emmanuel Macron, scheduled for Wednesday, Turkey and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum lifting the blockade posed by the head of the Turkish state. On the eve of the summit, however, such a decision seemed to be on the way out. But in the midst of the war in Ukraine and under the gaze of its peers, Turkey did not take the risk of spreading a division within the Alliance. Read alsoFaced with provocations from Moscow, the test of firmness for the Atlantic Alliance The agreement reached takes into account Turkish concerns regarding arms exports and the fight against terrorism, welcomed the Secretary General of the ‘Alliance Jens Stoltenberg in the evening. “As NATO Allies, Finland and Sweden are committed to fully supporting Turkey in the face of threats to its security,” he added. Recep Tayyip Erdogan blocked the membership process, which requires the agreement of all allies, to denounce the tolerant Swedish policy vis-à-vis the PKK. The Kurdish nationalist party is considered a terrorist group by Ankara and its allies. The Turkish president also criticized the restrictions on arms exports to Turkey approved in Stockholm. A setback for the Kurds In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland undertake to proceed with extraditions and to amend their legislation. Sweden also promises a “harder” arsenal from July 1. The two countries will also not support the YPG and the PYD, Kurdish movements active in Syria, nor the Gülenist movement, accused of being behind the coup attempt against Recep Tayyip. Erdogan in 2016. Jens Stoltenberg claimed that the procedures would respect European conventions on extradition. For the Kurdish community, which was engaged in Syria against Daesh, this is a new diplomatic setback. For Sweden and Finland, more and more eager to join NATO as the Ukrainian crisis worsens, the price had to be paid, at least in the declarations of intent. Read alsoOn the front line facing the Turkish coast, the Greek island of Kalymnos fears a coup by Erdogan As of Wednesday, the thirty member countries of the Alliance could open the door to the accession procedure for Finland and the Sweden, which requires consensus. The integration of the two countries could then be rapid, since their armies already largely meet NATO criteria. They are already conducting joint exercises with the allies. To succeed, the accession of Finland and Sweden must be validated by the thirty other national parliaments. “NATO’s door is open” The other member countries of NATO will not have had to publicly bang their fists on the table. On the French side, we remained cautious throughout the discussions, ensuring that we wanted to take Turkish concerns into account but without prejudging the agreement that could be reached. “We will watch”, they said at the Elysée before the summit. Read alsoThe Kremlin will stop its offensive when Ukraine capitulates Behind the pretexts relating to Kurdish militancy, Turkey has other subjects of concern to negotiate with its Western partners. Since acquiring Russian S400 air defense systems, Turkey has been excluded from the US F35 aircraft program. But it still wants to modernize its fleet. Ankara is also tempted to carry out a military operation in northern Syria, in the area controlled by the Kurds, to set up a kind of buffer region there. But it cannot decide on such an operation without obtaining a tacit agreement from the powers of the region, the United States but also Russia, allied with Syria. The question was to be on the agenda of the bilateral meeting scheduled for Wednesday with the American president. If the blocking of the accession procedure since May reveals the persistence of a Turkish problem within the Alliance, NATO can claim success. “Vladimir Putin wanted less NATO, he will have more NATO”, rejoiced Jens Stoltenberg. The message is that “NATO’s door is open”, underlined the Secretary General. However, he was not addressing Ukraine. Kyiv’s membership in the Alliance is not relevant. SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: the resurrection of NATO
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