Erdoğan spoke about the issue of Sweden’s NATO membership during a press conference held at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before travelling to the alliance’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. He stated that Turkey would approve Sweden’s NATO membership if the European Union resumes accession negotiations with his country.
I personally believe Putin would have invaded the Ukraine, as he did Crimea in 2014, whether he felt ‘provoked’ or not, especially after he lamented the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 as ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [twentieth] century’. One can conclude that the former KGB colonel, with his reverie to rebuild the former Soviet empire, was looking for an excuse to do so. And the US-led West provided it to him.
Should search and rescue forces again be dispatched by Budapest for humanitarian relief efforts in ravaged Turkey, they would face dangerous terrain, and not just from the unstable tectonic plates. The Hungarians have to navigate through an exceptionally dangerous geopolitical landscape, but they do have cards to play.
Following the two powerful earthquakes at the start of the week, the Hungarian government has confirmed that Hungary is there for Turkey in its hour of need.
The remarks of a senior Turkish official on 14 January imply that it is unlikely Sweden and Finland would be able to join NATO before June.