Erdoğan drops opposition to Nato accession bid

Turkey has paved the way for Sweden and Finland to join Nato: at the start of the defence alliance's summit, the three countries signed a trilateral memorandum assuring mutual support. Turkey's concerns regarding the fight against terrorism and arms exports have been addressed, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. Commentators take stock.

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Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

A historic decision

Erdoğan could no longer maintain his resistance without losing face, Ilta-Sanomat believes:

“It's difficult to understand the Turkish leader's reasoning, and it is unlikely that the negotiators will produce more information soon. But perhaps Erdoğan realised he was in danger of being taken for Putin's errand boy. ... In any case it's a decision of historic significance. Could Vladimir Putin have known when he ordered the criminal invasion of Ukraine on 24 February that in just over four months his reliable north-western neighbour Finland would be invited to join Nato along with Sweden? Surely that was not his goal.”

SRF (CH) /

Concessions out of fear of war

Domestic considerations were put on the back burner in Stockholm and Helsinki, SRF comments:

“It seems that Finland and Sweden made concessions on one of Turkey's core demands about persons and groups of Kurdish origin whom Turkey accuses of terrorism. ... In the end, domestic political concerns in Finland and Sweden regarding such concessions were less substantial than the fear of an attack from Russia - and thus the desire to join Nato as quickly as possible.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Former spy got it wrong again

Like the G7, Nato is also demonstrating strength through unity, De Telegraaf comments:

“In the Kremlin, Putin must have gnashed his teeth when he heard the news. This is the third time that the former spy has got it wrong. First he thought he would be able to break Ukraine's resistance within a few days and that the West would just mutter under its breath the way it did when he occupied Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine. Then he thought he could disrupt the unity of the EU, the G7 and Nato. Two rather strong armies are now joining Nato. And in an area where the alliance was at its weakest.”

Yeni Akit (TR) /

Ankara has imposed its will

For the pro-government paper Yeni Akit, the concessions made by Sweden and Finland mark a major success for Turkish diplomacy:

“If Tayyip Erdoğan had not been occupying the post of President of the Republic of Turkey, Sweden and Finland would have been accepted as Nato members today without anyone saying a word about their positive stance towards the PKK. Erdoğan put a stop to this process. An agenda was created in which support for the PKK is called into question not only in the case of Sweden and Finland, but for all states in this world.”

Liberal (GR) /

The blackmail has worked

News website Liberal writes:

“Erdoğan's harsh blackmail has worked, leading to an agreement with Sweden and Finland that is in some parts humiliating. ... Now that he has received almost as much as he demanded from the two Scandinavian countries, and they were apparently unable to counter his blackmail politically, he will try to capitalise on his 'positive' move in today's meetings with US President Biden and French President Macron. And of course he will exploit this development at home by touting the memorandum as a 'triumph' of his personal diplomacy.”