Imad Sheikh Daoud – Professor of Public Policy/Al-Nahrin University.
From Tuesday, 11 July 2023, to Wednesday, 12 July 2023, the NATO leaders summit was held in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, with the participation of 31 Leaders of NATO Member States as its most important decision to continue s presence in the Baltic States and the Eastern European Wing As adopted by last year’s Madrid summit, 2022, as well as the Turkish president’s agreement to allow Sweden to join the US-led military coalition after blocking its candidacy for more than a year following negotiations with the US side allowed sanctions to be overcome on Ankara, particularly in the case of F16 fighter jets. Accession to the European Union and Sweden’s pledge to Ankara not to support the PKK and other opposition forces.
So did Erdogan win the round to respond to accusations that members of the alliance are working away from NATO politics, turning the crisis around to an opportunity to benefit his crossroads nation for NATO expansion efforts eastward?
Following the outbreak of the Ukrainian-Russian War in February 2022, Europe and Turkey went through a period of apathy because of their attitudes towards that war, and many European countries expressed concerns about Russia, especially those geographically adjacent to it. (Finland and Sweden), to reveal their desire to join NATO, whose expansionist intentions eastward emerged through the Ukrainian-Russian crisis that developed into the war (It showed behind the scenes that Ukraine is nothing but a chess match between Russia on the one hand and the United States and NATO on the other and brought to mind the atmosphere of the Cold War.) These desires result in Hungary and Turkey objecting to joining the alliance, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expressed concerns about Sweden and Finland joining the alliance and accused the two countries of spreading “pure lies” about the integrity of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary, among other criticisms.
The Turkish objection was that the two States, through their policy and hosting of opposition groups, did not pay any attention to the issue of Turkish national security. This prompted Ankara to set certain conditions for its accession to NATO. It was reflected in a memorandum of understanding between the two countries signed in June 2022 in Madrid on the sidelines of the NATO summit meetings, which included:
“Full cooperation with Turkey in the fight against the PKK and its branches”
Demonstrating “solidarity with Turkey in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”
Commitment “not to support PYD, YPG, and Fethullah Gulen organizations.”
Lifting the “defense industry embargo, expanding military cooperation with Turkey, establishing an organized cooperation mechanism to share intelligence in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, and taking concrete measures to extradite criminals and terrorists”
Conclusion of “bilateral contractual agreements.”
“Stockholm has pledged to prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey, and to establish a permanent mechanism to ensure compliance with the agreement.”