After nearly three months of debate within the two countries, Finland and Sweden have formally applied for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Changing geopolitics of Europe:
- The admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO would bring about a transformation in the continent’s security map by giving NATO a contiguous long frontier in western Russia.
- Finland and Russia share a 1,300-km border — and doubling it from the present 1,200 km, parts of it in northern Norway, Latvia and Estonia, and Poland and Lithuania.
- In addition, Sweden’s island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea would give NATO a strategic advantage.
- Furthermore, when Sweden and Finland join NATO, the Baltic Sea — Russia’s gateway to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean — would be ringed entirely by NATO members.
Hurdles for Finland, Sweden:
- The expansion of military infrastructure into this territory will certainly provoke Russia’s response
- At the moment the main obstacle to their applications in Turkey, a member since 1952 and which has NATO’s second-largest army after the US.
- Turkish president Erdogan has objected to their applications on the ground that the two countries had provided safe haven to the leaders of the Kurdish group PKK.
- PKK is an armed movement fighting for a separate Kurdistan, comprising Kurdish areas in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.
How does this affect Turkey’s image in the West?
- Turkey is reinforcing an image that is blocking the alliance’s expansion for its own profit.
- It also risks damaging the credit it had earned by supplying Ukraine with the Bayraktar TB2 armed drones that became an effective weapon against Russian forces.
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