Erdogan’s green light to Sweden’s NATO bid hides important message for West

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent strategic moves have garnered attention as Turkey secures military deals and revives talks of EU membership.

These calculated manoeuvres come in response to Sweden’s bid to join NATO, showcasing Erdogan’s determination to assert Turkey’s geopolitical influence on the international stage.

Turkey has successfully finalised two significant military deals, bolstering its defence capabilities.

The first deal, with the US administration, includes the acquisition of 40 F-16 aircraft, along with over 900 air-to-air missiles and 800 bombs.

However, the delivery of these assets may face hurdles, as it requires approval from the US Congress and involves a three-year production timeline due to existing order backlogs.

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The second deal, with Canada, focuses on the removal of export barriers on arms sales to Turkey.

This agreement is particularly crucial for Turkey’s drone technology, as it allows the country to access advanced optics systems previously restricted by an arms embargo imposed by Canada.

In a surprising twist, Erdogan has revived discussions about Turkey’s EU membership, linking it to Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

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Although the pro-government media in Turkey has portrayed Sweden’s support as a victory for Erdogan, experts argue that it is not a new achievement for Ankara, given Sweden’s long-standing favourable stance on Turkey’s EU membership.

However, Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the director of the German Marshall Fund’s office in Ankara, believes that Erdogan’s recent move still carries an important message.

“I think after the elections, Erdogan is seeking more positive relations with the US and Europe, and he wants to be accepted by them,” Unluhisarcikli told DW news.

“Take his words about paving the way into the EU, for instance; nothing substantial will happen in this regard, and he knows that. But what he wants to convey is, ‘Do not exclude me.'”

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Erdogan’s calculated manoeuvres hold significant geopolitical implications. By securing military deals with the US and Canada, Turkey enhances its defence capabilities and solidifies its regional strength. The acquisition of F-16 aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and bombs demonstrates Turkey’s commitment to bolstering its military might.

Furthermore, Erdogan’s attempt to revive Turkey’s EU membership application highlights the country’s enduring geopolitical significance, despite recent setbacks. While the portrayal of Sweden’s support as a significant victory may be more a reflection of domestic messaging, Erdogan’s underlying intention appears to be signalling his willingness to engage with the US and European countries in a more constructive manner.

As these developments unfold, it remains to be seen how they will impact Turkey’s relations with NATO, the EU, and the broader international community. Erdogan’s tactics indicate a desire to consolidate Turkey’s regional power and emphasise its growing geopolitical influence. While the revival of talks on EU membership may face obstacles, Erdogan’s overarching message is clear: Turkey seeks acceptance and recognition on the international stage.

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