Sweden’s entry into NATO has been on hold for months because Turkey has refused to give its consent. Now the US President made a tempting offer.
It has been clear since Sunday that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be allowed to remain in office as Turkish President. In the run-off, he narrowly defeated his competitor Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and is now entering his fifth term in office. A little later, Erdoğan got a call from the White House. US President Joe Biden came forward to talk about a particularly sensitive topic: Sweden’s NATO accession.
For months, the Swedes have been waiting for Ankara to agree to joining the defense alliance. In view of the Russian threat, Finland and Sweden had applied for joint NATO membership. All other NATO members, including Turkey, must agree to the application.
But President Erdoğan initially opposed it. In order to score points domestically, he demanded, among other things, the extradition of opposition figures and suspected members of the PKK workers’ party, which is banned in Turkey.
While the Finns have since been accepted into the alliance, the Turkish president continues to refuse to give the Swedes his place.
Biden to Erdoğan: “Let’s do it”
So that this changes as soon as possible, Joe Biden has now promised the Turkish ruler a very special deal. According to this, the USA is ready to deliver the desired F-16 fighter jets to Turkey if Erdoğan in return agrees to Sweden’s NATO membership. Biden said in Washington on Monday that he made this clear in a phone call with the Turkish president after his re-election.
“I spoke to Erdoğan. I congratulated Erdoğan,” said Biden. “He still wants to negotiate something about the F-16 jets. I told him we want to deal with Sweden, so let’s do that.” Talks are expected to continue next week.
Resistance in US Congress to buy
Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries to block the accession of the Scandinavian country to the defense alliance, which the other member states and Sweden are striving for. Sweden, like Finland, applied for membership shortly after Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began. Russia’s sole ruler Vladimir Putin was outraged by the expansion of the defense alliance and threatened “countermeasures”.
Turkey has long sought to acquire US-made F-16 fighter jets. Although Biden has supported the request, there is resistance to the $ 20 billion purchase. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in particular has come under criticism.
The Turkish president has distinguished himself in the past by “destabilizing behavior in Turkey itself, but also towards NATO allies,” said Bob Menendez. The Democrat and party friend of Joe Biden is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Parliament.
“We should not agree to this deal until Erdoğan finally stops his threats and behaves like a trusted partner,” Menendez said in a statement earlier this year.