The Turkish president calls Sweden “hotbed of terrorism”

The Turkish president calls Sweden “hotbed of terrorism”

Irina Alksnis

Finland and Sweden are expected to jointly submit a formal application to join NATO today.
A couple of days ago, Vladimir Putin surprised his Finnish counterpart, and at the same time the entire West, with a calm reaction to this decision – it turned out to be “more restrained than expected.”
Now, however, the imperturbability of the Russian president gives rise to yet another conspiracy theory, creating for him the image of an evil genius – all-knowing and pulling the strings of world politics. And all because in the barrel of honey of North Atlantic solidarity there was a healthy fly in the ointment, organized by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. So instead of a rapid and enthusiastic replenishment of the alliance, the world is waiting for another comedy of situations with public squabbles, blackmail, persuasion, threats and humiliations that have become familiar in recent years. Moreover, humiliation is coming first of all to the Finns and Swedes themselves, who decided to make NATO happy with their participationand expecting the red carpet to be rolled out in front of them, but instead now doomed to the offensive role of petitioners, trampling on the threshold and begging for mercy. And, which is typical, not in Washington or Brussels, but in Ankara.
The essence of Turkey ‘s claims is very simple: Sweden and Finland have been pursuing a consistent policy of supporting the Kurds for many years. Both countries provide political asylum to Kurdish activists. There are six Kurdish deputies in the Swedish parliament. Also in these countries, members of the FETO party, which unites supporters of the preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of organizing a military coup attempt in 2016, found shelter.
For Ankara, both PKK members and Gülenists are terrorists. According to Turkish media, Stockholm and Helsinki refused to extradite 33 people from the PKK and FETO to the Turks. Some extradition requests were rejected, and some were simply ignored.
In general, taking into account the circumstances and the policy of Erdogan, who does not miss a single chance to loudly declare great ambitions, it was quite possible to expect Ankara’s demarche. And he followed, and in the most rigid and direct form. The Turkish president called Sweden a “hotbed of terrorism”, saying that his country could not say yes to the entry of the two countries into NATO – and asked not to be offended. Moreover, in order to make the situation completely insulting for the Swedes and Finns, Erdogan added that Turkey would not believe the “anti-terrorist statements” of Stockholm and Helsinki, even if they were made. He also advised the delegations of both countries, who should be negotiating with the Turks on this issue, “not to bother.”
Someone can say that for Erdogan everything that is happening is nothing more than an excuse for blackmail and bargaining, and in the end Washington will bend, persuade or buy Turkey’s consent to replenish the ranks of NATO.
But, firstly, on the issue of the Russian S-400 systems, the West has still not been able to force Ankara to change its position, and considerable efforts have been made to this end. And secondly, and this is even more important, the point is not whether the Turks will ultimately be able to push through and expand the North Atlantic Alliance, according to the prescribed procedure.
It’s about the situation.
Turkey has planted a pig on the Americans and Europeans at a time when, more than ever before, it is important for them to organize the consolidation of the world in opposition to bad Russia. This does not work anyway – the notorious “whole world” is limited to the West itself with the support of a few satellites, and now Ankara has staged a rebellion and a split right in the military heart of the Atlanticists.
Moreover, this situation cannot be attributed to “darlings scold – they only amuse themselves.” Turkey has been consistently acting for many years exactly in the same logic as Russia, China, India and dozens of states all over the planet: defending its sovereignty and national interests, while simultaneously und-ermining the Western-centric system and US hegemony. In this sense, the difference between Erdogan and Putin, Xi or Modi is only in a penchant for adventurism and external effects, which is also confirmed by current history.
Against this background, the decision of Sweden and Finland to join NATO looks especially expressive. One could hardly think of a more vivid symbol of the suicide of Europe, the only region on the planet that resignedly agreed to sacrifice itself for the sake of the United States. Two neutral countries that have successfully balanced in multiple geopolitical storms for dec-ades have chosen sides as the system they dominated collapses before our eyes.
It would be understandable if Stockholm and Helsinki decided to become members of the North Atlantic Alliance at the turn of the century, so to speak, join the winner in the Cold War and the global hegemon. Russia would not have been able to oppose this then, in the same way it had to accept the inclusion of the Baltic republics in NATO.
But no, the Swedes and Finns decided to get rid of neutrality at the moment of the collapse of the system, when the only thing that is required of them is to ruin themselves with maximum damage to Russia. Moreover, they will have to kill themselves without options (primarily in the economic sense), and Moscow cannot count on causing really serious harm, they themselves will be much more painful.
Ancient wisdom says that if God wants to punish, he first deprives the mind. It seems more and more clearly that we are witnessing the embodiment of this principle in the performance of Europe, a region that for many centuries was the center of modern civilization.

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