Turkey reassures allies on Nato expansion.

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Turkey reassures allies on Nato expansion. Expansion of the military alliance is vital to stability in Turkey’s neighborhood, so the country has urged Sweden and Finland to do more to settle their dispute over the Nordic pair’s bid to join Nato.

Defense Minister and retired four-star general Hulusi Akar has responded to claims that Turkey is hurting Nato with its opposition to the Nordic countries’ joint application and warm relations with Russia.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Akar said, “A Nato without Turkey is unthinkable.” Akar is scheduled to meet with British defense secretary Ben Wallace on Monday in the UK. We are a tried and true nation with an established military that would never betray our alliances. It’s entirely safe to relax about this.

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Across the borders from Syria, Iran, and Iraq, Turkey hosts a US nuclear weapons air base, giving it a strategic location. During the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish fighter jets have been conducting patrols over the Black Sea on behalf of NATO, and the government has prevented Russian warships from passing through its straits.

However, Turkey has rejected Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership applications. Turkey has been at war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for decades, and Ankara has asked Sweden to help end the PKK’s terrorist activities. Furthermore, it seeks the extradition of asylum seekers who it claims are part of an Islamic network responsible for a violent coup attempt in 2016.

We firmly back NATO’s welcoming stance. Akar emphasized the importance of candidates understanding and respecting the organization’s security concerns in light of the organization’s appreciation for the candidates’ interest in membership. To put it bluntly, we’d like to see this issue fixed, but we can’t. We’re holding our breath until Sweden and Finland finish their research and figure this out.

After a week of talks, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson declared that things were “going very well” with Turkey last week. He had previously vented his ire at Ankara for making unreasonable requests, such as extradition requests that Swedish courts had already rejected on human rights grounds.

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, the Nordic countries finally aligned with each other after decades of nonalignment. However, western officials have warned that the delay is playing into Russia’s hands. According to officials from both countries, there may be a delay in approval until after the June elections in Turkey.

Despite being on opposite sides of the conflicts in Syria and Libya, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has crafted a complex partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2019, Turkey bought a Russian air defense system because of this relationship, putting it at odds with the other 29 Nato members.

The purchase strained ties between the United States and Turkey, making it harder for Ankara to buy modernization kits and next-generation fighter jets to replace its aging fleet. With the knowledge that Turkey may try to buy planes from non-NATO countries, US President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled its support for Ankara’s purchase of F-16 jets worth billions of dollars.

As for the continued opposition from critical lawmakers over Turkey’s rights record and threats to US allies, Akar said he was “optimistic” the US Congress would allow the sale. We want to strengthen our military, and the United States wants Nato countries to spend more on defense, but he said it limits our ability to do so.

Turkish defense firms have supplied combat drones to Kyiv, despite Erdogan’s criticism of the invasion. However, Turkey has not joined western sanctions against Moscow and has bolstered trade ties since the war broke out.

Someone needs to communicate with Russia. Without it, we will reach a stalemate. Akar said, “We expect the West to thank our President.” According to Erdogan, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a frequent phone conversation partner, and the Turkish leader would then call Putin an hour later to relay messages.

With Akar’s mediation, Russia lifted its blockade of Ukrainian ports, allowing 17 million metric tonnes of grain to be exported and averting a more widespread food crisis. He echoed previous calls for a “humanitarian ceasefire” and suggested that the ongoing negotiations could serve as a template for a future peace agreement.

To fight the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia with ties to the PKK that is armed and trained by the United States in the fight against ISIS, Turkey has threatened to launch another military operation in north-east Syria, where both US and Russian forces are present.