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Erdogan clears the way for Sweden and Finland - because NATO is ready to "sacrifice the Kurds"?


Erdogan clears the way for Sweden and Finland - because NATO is ready to "sacrifice the Kurds"? Created: 07/02/2022, 12:24 p.m By: Alexander Eser-Ruperti Turkey gives in to NATO – or vice versa? Sweden and Finland become members and the alliance turns a blind eye to the Kurdish question, warns expert Küpeli. Elmau – Turkey paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Turkish President Re

Erdogan clears the way for Sweden and Finland - because NATO is ready to "sacrifice the Kurds"?

Created: 07/02/2022, 12:24 p.m

By: Alexander Eser-Ruperti

Turkey gives in to NATO – or vice versa?

Sweden and Finland become members and the alliance turns a blind eye to the Kurdish question, warns expert Küpeli.

Elmau – Turkey paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is selling the results of the negotiations as a triumph - and he has good reason for that: Erdogan has wrested far-reaching concessions from NATO, Finland and Sweden.

In an interview with

from IPPEN

, the renowned political scientist and Turkey expert Ismail Küpeli explains why the Turkish-Kurdish opposition in exile could now also be endangered, what role Germany plays in this and how it is that Erdogan is moving away from his role as

mediator. MEDIA


Nato: For the accession of Finland and Sweden, Erdogan wrested many concessions from the alliance

Mr. Küpeli, some media reports that Erdogan has caved in to negotiations with NATO, Sweden and Finland.

Concessions to Turkey are now being made known by both countries and NATO: end of the arms embargo, no more support for the YPG, extradition of so-called “terror suspects”.

Has Erdogan buckled?

Or the military alliance?

There are actually different assessments in Turkey and Europe.

In Turkey itself there are certainly critics who say that Turkey did not get what it wanted.

I would say from our perspective Erdogan was able to assert himself on different points.

He has at least enough successes to claim victory.

Wrested many concessions from NATO members: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left).

© Susan Walsh/dpa

The concessions appear to be far-reaching.

The big problem is how the EU and NATO position themselves in the Ukraine war.

Something falls on their toes.

Turkey is obviously needed in the conflict, and NATO is willing to give up a lot for that.

I wonder if that really isn't too much.

Northward expansion of NATO: Küpeli cannot understand the concessions made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

NATO repeatedly invokes its “shared values” – how credible is that against the background of current events?

Actually, that's not really believable.

What always catches up with us is that we plan and act from one crisis to the next.

This is not a value-oriented policy, neither of NATO nor of the EU.

When we say that in the case of the current war we need support against the autocrat Vladimir Putin and that we get it by making concessions to other autocrats, that is neither convincing nor value-oriented.

From the point of view of foreign politicians, the concessions are perhaps understandable in terms of their own logic, day-to-day politics, but that will harm us in the long term, and of course it is by no means in line with democratic values.

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NATO accession: concessions to Erdogan – “Germany has kept silent”

In northern Syria, Erdogan has announced a war against the Kurds.

The extensive silence from Germany and other NATO countries on this is striking.

how come

Germany has repeatedly remained silent in recent years when the Turkish government took military action against the Kurds not only in its own country but also in northern Syria and northern Iraq.

Let's remember the Afrin war of 2018, which was also regarded as a war of aggression by the Bundestag's research service.

At that time, the German government did not condemn the war, but rather continued to cooperate with the Turkish government.

The current situation is that both Germany and the other NATO countries have a strong interest in keeping Turkey on their side in the conflict with Russia.

They are willing to sacrifice the Kurds for this.

Criticism will probably be completely absent this time.

Ismail Küpeli

With a view to Erdogan's war threats in Syria, what consequences could the current developments surrounding Sweden's and Finland's NATO accession have?

I think the implications of the threatened war in northern Syria are massive.

This means that Erdogan has made sure that there will be no criticism in the other NATO countries either, where Germany has a special role.

The German position on Turkey has long been more benevolent, and France and other EU and NATO countries have made critical comments about Turkey's actions in northern Syria.

That will probably not happen at all this time.

So the Kurds are paying the price for NATO's northern expansion?

Yes, the agreement between Turkey, Finland and Sweden shows exactly that.

The future NATO countries have largely bowed to Turkish demands and have already announced that they will extradite Kurdish activists, whom Turkey has dubbed "terrorists", to Turkey - despite the fact that they face torture and long prison sentences in Turkey.

Sweden and Finland join NATO: What will happen to Kurdish politicians and activists in exile now?

The extradition of alleged "terror suspects", i.e. members of the opposition, is very important to Erdogan.

This will be important for Erdogan's domestic "marketing" of the negotiations.

It's about the question of how Sweden and Finland deal with Kurdish politicians and activists in exile.

At this point, I believe, there will be an escalation.

This means that if these countries extradite activists, Erdogan can present it as a success in Turkey and, in exile, enforce a repressive mood towards his Kurdish opponents in Europe.

Does that mean that not only the Kurds in northern Syria are paying the price for NATO's northern expansion, but possibly the entire opposition in exile?

That is to be feared.

We underestimate how important exile is for the democratic opposition as a whole.

What is no longer pronounceable in Turkey is now being largely organized in European exile.

It is important to preserve these relatively free spaces.

If you want a democratic future for Turkey, there must be spaces where the democratic opposition can unite.

That's difficult in Turkey now.

In this respect, I am very skeptical about the costs, not only for the Kurds, but for the entire democratic opposition in Turkey.

This can prove serious in the long run.

Consequences of the NATO agreement for the opposition: "The problem is that we support anti-democratic measures"

So there is a danger for the democratic opposition abroad because the freedom is being lost?

You know all the espionage affairs and the spying on Turkish journalists in exile.

That means it's important to keep the freedom.

It's also difficult for human rights reasons: look how broad the definition of terrorism is.

Dozens of members of parliament and mayors have been imprisoned on absurd suspicions of terrorism.

If we adopt such definitions of terrorism in talks with Turkey, then there is the problem that we support anti-democratic measures.

I think it's fundamentally difficult for us to take part in something where, as a "community of values" for democracy and human rights, we should have different positions.

There was a joint cabinet meeting between the Turkish and German governments a few years ago.

In a very vague decision, Turkey's definition of terrorism was partially adopted.

Ismail Küpeli

Will the Turkish definition of terrorism be adopted?

There was a joint cabinet meeting between the Turkish and German governments a few years ago.

In a very vague decision, Turkey's definition of terrorism was partially adopted.

That was already difficult back then, but fortunately had few concrete consequences.

That could change now: If we adopt Turkey's definition of terrorism here and decide on such extraditions, this could lead to more exile activists being deported who cannot expect legal proceedings in Turkey - but imprisonment for trivial things.

We have to realize: Torture in Turkish prisons is increasing, it's well documented.

I am very skeptical that we will take part here and hand people over to such conditions.

Turkey: Erdogan's appearance as mediator in the Ukraine war "more appearances than reality"

One step back.

After Erdogan last acted as a mediator, he again took the offensive in the negotiations.

How do you explain that?

Erdogan's appearance as a mediator was already more appearance than reality.

In fact, he was less of a peace broker than trying

to salvage his good relations with both Russia and the West.

He could do that best through this supposed mediator role.

But Erdogan is trying to use the nationalist card again domestically, and he wants to target Kurdish forces more closely.

The West should give him a free hand and in order to achieve this, Erdogan was willing to make NATO's northern expansion more difficult.

Does his reappearance as a "strongman" strengthen Erdogan domestically?

So far he has been quite successful with this aggressive and confrontational approach and has been able to demonstrate strength towards the West, at least to his supporters.

The nationalist rhetoric on the Kurdish question has also won him the support of a relevant section of Turkish voters.

Whether this game succeeds this time is open.




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Do you see Erdogan's foreign policy behavior as a distraction from the domestic, especially economic, imbalance?

The aggressive foreign policy behavior is actually an attempt to score points domestically and to make the economic crisis, which is increasingly becoming a social crisis (due to poverty) invisible in the public eye.

Whether this will succeed again, as in previous years, is unclear.

Erdogan's power: "Currently, the elections in Turkey are neither fair nor free.

Erdogan's politics currently seems to be a mixture of repression against members of the opposition, nationalist symbolic politics and foreign policy power behavior: Are these pillars characteristic of him and are they enough to stay in power again?

Yes, these pillars have been very characteristic of Erdogan's politics since 2015 at the latest.

In addition, there is the open war against the Kurds, which has also pushed Turkey further towards autocracy.

It is quite possible that these four pillars, in conjunction with election manipulation and election fraud, which we have also been observing since 2015, will be sufficient to retain power.

How could the opposition prevail?

The opposition should manage (unlike in previous years) not to be swayed by Erdogan's nationalist rhetoric and set up a broad democratic phalanx, naturally including the left-wing opposition party HDP, which has been described as pro-Kurdish.

However, this is currently not the case.

The opposition should manage not to be swayed by Erdogan's nationalist rhetoric.

Ismail Küpeli

How do you assess the mood in the country if the Turkish president were re-elected in a fair election?

Erdogan continues to be supported by his core constituency, but a large part of the Turkish population has experienced the negative consequences of economic development in recent years.

It can therefore be assumed that Erdogan would not achieve the approval ratings that brought him and the AKP to power back then.

This means?

In a really free and fair election, which is currently extremely unlikely in Turkey, Erdogan would certainly be able to mobilize around 30 percent of the voters.

Whether he would lose the elections accordingly depends very much on whether the opposition put together a convincing candidate.

Currently, however, the elections in Turkey are neither fair nor free.

Personal details: Ismail Küpeli is a political scientist and historian.

He analyzes the conflicts in Turkey and in the Near and Middle East.

He publishes for daily and weekly newspapers.

Küpeli received a doctoral scholarship from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and studied at the Ruhr University in Bochum.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-07-02

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