Athena Papakosta

The NATO stepped up his pressure on Turkey to drop its objections to Sweden’s entry into the Alliance as he wants to get the issue out of the way by next month’s Vilnius Summit.

For this reason the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg he is expected to travel to Ankara “in the near future” as he announced from Oslo and the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Summit.

For his part, the Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billström, stated that the time has come for Turkey and Hungary to ratify the Swedish request for membership in the Alliance, emphasizing that “we have fulfilled all our commitments”.

The discussions between Ankara and Stockholm they were frozen due to the holding of the parliamentary and presidential elections in the neighbor.

While Turkey gave the green light to Finland, which joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last April, it maintains its objections to Sweden, which it insists offers sanctuary to members of organizations that Ankara considers terrorist.

At the same time, he emphasizes that Stockholm has not fulfilled the terms of the agreement reached more than a year ago at the NATO Summit in Madrid and consequently Ankara’s security concerns have not been appeased.

But Stoltenberg insists that the time has come and an official – who has not been named to international news agencies – notes that it is possible that the NATO Secretary General’s visit to Ankara could take place even this weekend.

The other NATO foreign ministers were on the same wavelength. “It is the moment” declared the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Anneken Hutefeld with the German Foreign Minister, Analena Berbock, to point out that “it is essential to finally welcome Sweden as our 32nd member” underlining once again Berlin’s support for the Swedish government.

However, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who did not attend the Summit in Oslo, made a post on Twitter in which he called on Stockholm with a “clear message”, as he noted, to first fulfill “the commitments arising from the Tripartite Memorandum’ and take ‘concrete measures to combat terrorism’ and then ‘the rest will follow’.

Sweden’s accession to NATO was used pre-election by Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, the day after his consecutive re-election, started bargaining with Washington for Ankara’s coveted F-16 fighter jets.

The American president, Joe Biden, last Monday night gave the impression that the F-16s are connected to the admission of Sweden to the Alliance, saying that the Turkish president “wants us to find a solution for the F-16s. I told him we want a deal for Sweden. So let’s do it.”

But on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken separated the two issues, although he stressed that achieving them would dramatically strengthen European security.

At the same time, the “black sheep” of Europe, Hungary, leaves Sweden in…wait.

A few days after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s clear message from Qatar that the Nordic country should improve its relations with Budapest, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó makes it clear that “we are not prepared to accept any pressure” adding that “the Hungarian parliament will decide on the ratification”.

And the thread of pressure and talks picks up again where we left off a few weeks ago before the curtain rises on the Turkish elections with time counting down to the NATO Summit in Lithuania on 11 and 12 July.