Turkey: Sweden lifts arms embargo

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Created: 09/30/2022, 8:29 p.m

Von: Erkan Pehlivan


Sweden has lifted the arms embargo against Turkey. And the US could agree to the sale of F-16 fighter jets. But there are complications.

Ankara/Washington/Stockholm – Turkey had threatened to block Sweden’s accession to NATO if the country did not lift its arms embargo, among other things. Now the Swedish government has actually lifted the arms embargo against Turkey. The Swedish Export Control Agency banned arms exports to Turkey after Turkey invaded Syria in 2019

Turkey expert Süleyman Özeren recognizes political calculations

Positive signals for Turkey also seem to be coming from the USA. The country has been trying to buy modern F-16 fighter jets from Washington for months. So far, the AKP government has tried to blame Athens for the ongoing conflict with Greece. The Turkey expert Süleyman Özeren, professor at the “American University” in Washington DC, takes part in the conversation therein political calculation.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is trying to create a view that the US is side-by-side with Greece in the Greek-Turkish conflict, making it a domestic political mass.” Negotiated purchase of US fighter jets.

NATO meeting in Spain © IMAGO/Henrik Montgomery/TT

Turkey could build up pressure and endanger the deal

According to Özeren, Turkey remains a key NATO partner in the region and is very likely to agree to the sale of the F-16. “President Joe Biden’s administration had already spoken out in favor of a sale in the US Congress,” says Özeren. However, the expert still sees the deal at risk. “But if Ankara continues to build up a policy of pressure, there may be complications.”

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Turkey was originally in the F-35 program. Later there were quarrels with the USA because Turkey, contrary to warnings from the West, bought the Russian S-400 air defense system. In response, Washington ordered Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 and other punitive measures. “In Washington, the view is widespread that the exclusion from the F-35 program and the other measures have punished Turkey sufficiently,” said Özeren.

dr  Süleyman Özeren, Turkey expert and professor at the American University in Washington DC
Dr. Süleyman Özeren © privat

Tensions with Greece strain relations with the West

Tensions with Greece are currently straining Ankara’s relations with the West. Erdogan has repeatedly threatened Greece in recent months. The country must demilitarize several islands in the Aegean Sea. “Otherwise we will come unexpectedly one night,” Erdogan announced. In response, Greece has launched several military maneuvers in the Aegean.

Another crucial test with the West is ignoring Western sanctions against Russia. Russian companies and entrepreneurs are increasingly circumventing Western sanctions by using Turkey to do so. In the past six months alone, 720 companies were founded in Turkey by Russians or Russian participation, 128 of them only in August. Experts warn that Turkey must therefore expect US sanctions. (Erkan Pehlivan)