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Is Erdogan provoking Sweden's "horrific scenario"? Expert also fears a bad "signal" to Russia

2023-01-27T12:17:13.988Z


Turkey is worrying Sweden: A NATO "horrific scenario" could threaten, for example for the island of Gotland. But a "signal" to Putin is also worrying.


Turkey is worrying Sweden: A NATO "horrific scenario" could threaten, for example for the island of Gotland.

But a "signal" to Putin is also worrying.

Stockholm/Helsinki – Will Sweden succeed in joining NATO despite Recep Tayyip Erdogan's barrage?

It's not just Stockholm who is concerned about this question - long-term partner and NATO co-candidate Finland is also becoming concerned.

The countries actually wanted to join the defense alliance together.

According to surveys, even the citizens of both countries value it.

But after the most recent protests in Sweden, Erdogan – himself deep in a desperate election campaign – pronounced an almost categorical no.

Scenarios in which Finland leaves its neighbor behind are now also on the agenda.

And joining NATO alone.

However, experts warn that in Sweden there is talk of a “terrible scenario”.

Sweden under Erdogan's NATO veto: will Finland go alone?

“Could send a signal to Russia”

Most recently, protesters in Stockholm presented an Erdogan doll as a statement against Turkey's Kurdistan policy.

Erdogan himself is also demanding the extradition of critics as a concession for his yes to NATO membership.

At the same time, however, right-wing extremists had staged the burning of the Koran on several occasions.

The Turkish President reacted angrily: Sweden could no longer count on Ankara's support for NATO membership, he said.

However, admission to NATO is only possible with the green light from Turkey.

According to the broadcaster YLE, Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto admitted on Tuesday that one could possibly be forced to join without Sweden - despite one's own wishes and those of NATO.

Scandinavian political scientists also see this option.

At least under certain conditions.

But they also warn of unintended consequences.

The credibility of NATO and its "open-door policy" could suffer, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a researcher at the Finnish Foreign Policy Institute, told YLE.

At the same time, the situation could motivate Russia to further disruptive fire: "It could also send a signal to Russia that it is possible through contacts with a member country to influence central principles of NATO, such as the open-door policy."

Erdogan and NATO: Sweden facing a “terrible scenario” – Concerns about Gotland, among other things

Precisely this stipulation, according to which NATO membership is in principle open to new members compatible with NATO principles, could also enable Finland to go it alone.

If you take the principle seriously, it is not possible to "tell Finland no," emphasized Salonius-Pasternak.

However, the expert Tomas Ries from the Defense University in Stockholm also warned that without Sweden, NATO could lose an important piece of the puzzle for security in Scandinavia.

"Sweden has an enormously important geographical role in the middle of the north," he stressed.

A "gap" between Sweden and NATO could open up.

Theoretically, however, a merely “very close defense cooperation” is also conceivable.

"One understands that Finland has a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia."

The Swedish military expert Tomas Ries comments on a possible Finnish NATO accession without Sweden.

The Swedish broadcaster SVT also considered this option - and wrote of a "terrible scenario": A position in political "limbo", without neutrality and without NATO protection.

As a result, Sweden and especially the Baltic Sea island of Gotland could be “exposed”.

Gotland is also important for NATO, it said;

for example to protect the Baltic states.

The island had come into focus early on in the war.

However, both experts also expressed understanding for a hypothetical accession of Finland without Sweden.

"One understands that Finland has a 1,300-kilometer-long border with Russia," Ries explained - in addition, Stockholm had caused the problem with the Koran burning to some extent itself.

Salonius-Pasternak judged pragmatically: “It would be better for Nordic security if Finland became a member than if both Finland and Sweden were left out.

Sweden worried about joining NATO: Turkey decides – topic passé after the election?

But does it really come to that?

Salonius-Pasternak does not think talks about this perspective make sense until the fall - should it emerge at the NATO meeting in Vilnius in July that Sweden will not have access.

His colleague Ries from Stockholm does not believe that this question will arise after the Turkish elections: If Erdogan wins, he will no longer need Sweden as a lever - if power changes in Ankara, a government with a " much softer posture” take the helm.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also expressed optimism on Thursday.

"There is a chance, without any doubt," Kristersson told the Swedish news agency TT about the planned NATO membership.

He doesn't dare to create a schedule.

"But I hope that it will happen as soon as possible." Kristersson also pointed to the pressure that would come from a large majority of NATO countries on Turkey.

However, he emphasized very cautiously: "But it is Turkey that makes the Turkish decision and no one else." (

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Source: merkur

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