Turkey’s NATO deal may bring nationalist votes back to Erdogan


Turkey blocked Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids until Ankara ‘got what it wanted’ – will that bring wavering voters back?

After weeks of back and forth, Turkey decided to drop its objections to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids, as the transatlantic defense alliance convened in Madrid on Tuesday.

With an agreement signed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Ankara had “got what it wanted”.

Erdogan was able to have his concerns about the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – a designated “terrorist” group in Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, and that has fought a war against the Turkish state since 1984 – addressed.

Finland and Sweden also agreed to stop any assistance to the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the first time a NATO candidate has promised to do so, considering the YPG has been seen by Turkey’s Western allies as the main tool in the fight against ISIL (ISIS) in Syria.

The agreement with the two Nordic countries was even followed by a face-to-face meeting in Spain with US President Joe Biden, who has had fairly cold relations with Washington’s longstanding NATO partner as a result of various issues.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Turkish government and its supporters have portrayed the resolution of the Finland-Sweden dispute and the Erdogan-Biden meeting as the end of Ankara’s strained relations with Washington.

It is also seen as a victory for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party, as they prepare for a difficult election likely to come in mid-2023.




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