Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Turkey Lays Down 10 Conditions For Supporting Finland’s, Sweden’s Accession To NATO – Russian Reports

Turkey plans to lay down a proclamation outlining ten conditions that Finland and Sweden must observe if they want Ankara to greenlight their accession to NATO, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he could not say “yes” to the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO due to their open support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdish YPG militia, which are deemed terrorist organizations by Ankara.

If Turkey agrees to these countries’ membership, NATO “will not be a security organization, but will become a place where there will be many representatives of terrorists,” Erdogan said on Monday.

Sweden and Finland must clarify their stance on the PKK and its branches and designate them as terrorist organizations to enlist Turkey’s approval for granting the membership of the Nordic state in the alliance.

Ankara will also demand from Helsinki and Stockholm to stop hosting members of the organizations it deems terrorist in their parliaments and to cut financial support for the Kurdish groups, which they implement under the guise of fighting against the Islamic State, the newspaper said.

Ankara will further request that the candidates for NATO membership avoid contacts with the PKK leadership, as well as shut down the activities of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen’s movement, which is also designated as terrorist by Turkey, Sabah said.

Turkey F-16
An F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Turkish Air Force. (Wikimedia Commons)

Furthermore, Ankara will demand that Stockholm and Helsinki fast-track the extradition procedures for the members of organizations banned in Turkey and cut off support of “any activities contrary to Turkey’s security.”

According to the newspaper, the final set of demands will include “launching a joint initiative to create a mechanism that would support regular consultations and close cooperation with Turkey in the fight against terrorism” and “blocking money flows from terrorist organizations and freezing their bank accounts” in both Finland and Sweden.

Earlier, US peace activist and coordinator of the Odessa Solidarity Campaign Phil Wilayto told Sputnik that the decisions by the governments of Finland and Sweden to apply for membership in NATO subordinates them to the aggressive US-led military alliance that puts their peoples at risk and adds to regional instability.

“The decisions by the governments of Sweden and Finland to join NATO are a huge step back for world peace and for European stability,” Wilayto said. “Both, Sweden and Finland have been at least officially neutral for many decades – Finland since World War II and Sweden since long before that. Officially subordinating themselves to an aggressive US-led military alliance puts the people of both countries in danger and contributes to the overall political and military instability of the entire region.”

Tayyip-Erdogan
File Image: Erdogan

Earlier in the day, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Sweden and Finland will jointly apply for NATO membership on Wednesday.

Wilayto said joining NATO will immediately raise the possibility of involving both countries in conflicts that they have nothing to do with, given that Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty stipulates an attack on any one member is considered to be an attack on all.

“Those who think of NATO only as protection for themselves would do well to remember that the only time Article 5 has ever been invoked was to come to the aid of the United States after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. So the question becomes, do you really want Washington telling you who your enemies are?” he said.

Wilayto pointed out that joining NATO is not inexpensive and the United States demands that all members devote at least 2 percent of their GDP to military spending.

“Finland already spends 2 percent of its GDP on its military (the 2021 estimate), which is up from 1.5 percent in 2020,” he said. “But in Sweden’s case, this would mean an increase in military spending since its present spending is only 1.3 percent of its GDP. The result will be an increase in taxes or a reduction in social spending or both.”

Wilayto noted that NATO was founded in 1949 by a dozen North American and Western European countries opposed to the Soviet Union and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it has grown to include 30 countries stretching all the way to the borders of Russia.

Russia-Turkey
File Image: Putin and Erdogan

“NATO claims to be a force for peace, but let’s look at its record: From 1993 to 1995, NATO imposed a naval blockade on the former Yugoslavia. In 1995, it carried out a bombing campaign against Bosnia,” he said. “In 1999, it carried out a massive bombing campaign against Serbia, inflicting many civilian casualties.”

Wilayto also said that NATO conducted an air campaign against Libya in 2011, “turning what was once the most prosperous country in Africa into a safe haven for extremists who are now destabilizing a large part of West Africa.” In addition, NATO participated in the United Nations-led mission in Afghanistan.

“In all these military actions, NATO was essentially acting under the leadership and in the interests of the United States,” Wilayto said. “NATO today is simply an extension of the US military where soldiers and taxpayers of other countries are forced to pay the cost of the United States pursuing its goal of global hegemony, or, as the Pentagon puts it, ‘full spectrum dominance.'”

When asked whether Sweden and Finland joining NATO would increase stability in Europe, Wilayto underscored, “no, it would, in fact, do the exact opposite.”

Wilayto explained that tensions between the United States and Russia are now at their highest level since the worst days of the Cold War and emphasized he believes the best-case scenario would be for the countries bordering Russia to adopt a stance of political and military neutrality, such as Finland had done for more than 75 years.

“This would create a kind of buffer zone and help reduce tensions,” he said. “Instead, the US has pushed more and more border countries to join NATO. This is very dangerous and is rightly viewed by Russia as an existential threat.”

Wilayto continued to say that Finland shares an 830-mile-long border with Russia, and if it does join NATO, the land border that Russia shares with NATO member countries would roughly double.

“The case of Ukraine, with its more than 1,200-mile land border with Russia, is of course even more serious. And then there’s Georgia, which also now wants to join NATO,” he said. “So you can see that, in practice, the United States and NATO are tightening their encirclement of Russia’s Western flank, which is inherently destabilizing.”

putin
File Image: Vladimir Putin and
Sergey Shoigu

“This steady NATO expansion is pitting Russia against an aggressive military alliance that every year spends more than ten times on its collective militaries than Russia spends on its own,” he added.

Wilayto also pointed out that there is no doubt how the United States would react if Russia were building an anti-US military alliance with Canada, Mexico and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and holding military exercises right up to the Rio Grande and off the coasts of Maine and Washington state.

“Hopefully, the people of Sweden and Finland will see the folly of their governments joining NATO and will speak out and prevent it. And hopefully, the people here in the United States will become more aware of what Washington is doing in their name and against their best interests,” he said.

US President Joe Biden will host his Finnish counterpart and the Swedish prime minister at the White House on May 19 for talks on the two nations’ applications for NATO membership, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.

Finland and Sweden have been considering joining NATO since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24. Both countries announced their official decisions to abandon neutrality on Sunday.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the alliance would warmly welcome Finland and Sweden and pledged to fast-track their membership applications.

However, the entry into the alliance must be done with a unanimous agreement of all members and Turkey has expressed opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s joining NATO.

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