Finland and Sweden are the two Scandinavian nations that have historically maintained their independence from the NATO military bloc and have long been praised for their exemplary model of neutrality. But, from their perspective, Russia’s recent assault on Ukraine has transformed the entire geopolitical scene, which is why both the countries have now applied to enter the US-led alliance. However, for a nation to enter NATO, every one of its current nations should agree. Though 29 of the 30 nations seem pleased with the inclusion of these Nordic countries, Turkey sees their membership as an issue.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s far-right dictator, is enraged by their readiness to house Kurdish insurgents. He was originally hesitant about the Nordic nations’ membership, saying: “How can we trust them?” He subsequently upped the ante, stating that Turkey will not vote “yes” unless specific conditions were satisfied.

Erdogan stated that Finland and Sweden would need to stop “supporting” the Kurdish Workers’ Party. Turkey considers it to be a terrorist group. The countries would also need to put an end to their weapons sales embargo, something that was enforced on Turkey when it launched an attack in northeast Syria, he continued. Most recently, in exchange for not obstructing their NATO membership, Erdogan has provided a list of individuals who escaped Turkey over fears of political persecution and are presently residing in exile in the Nordic nations to Finnish and Swedish authorities for extradition to Turkey. In the German tabloid Bild, columnist Lou Siebert stated that Erdogan’s actions were tantamount to “blackmail.”

Erdogan, he claimed, was motivated solely by a desire to achieve “foreign policy victories that would make him appear like a powerful leader at home.” This, he argued, was significant in light of Turkey’s approaching legislative and general elections. Turkey is also attempting to “raise pressure” on the Western states to provide it with weaponry, according to Siebert.

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