MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. The West is currently bargaining with Turkey over the terms of Sweden's entry into NATO; Ankara could give the green light to Stockholm at the summit of the alliance to be held in Vilnius on July 11-12, the deputy director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, expert of the Valdai Club, Dmitry Suslov, told TASS on Monday.
He believes that the lack of statements from Turkey about an agreement on Sweden's joining NATO shows that "the deal has not been finalized yet; the bargaining process is underway." He also stressed that the Turkish authorities' expression of readiness to approve Sweden's bid in the near future would be a rather drastic change of position.
"But, as the summit in Vilnius draws near, we may notice a change in rhetoric in late June or early July. At the summit itself we may hear Turkey declare that it no longer has any claims to Sweden, that it has ‘done its homework,’ and in this regard Turkey no longer has grounds to block its accession," Suslov said.
"If an agreement can be reached, or has already been reached regarding the price tag to be attached to Sweden's NATO membership that would satisfy [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, he will most likely agree to support its bid and ensure that Sweden become a NATO member at the upcoming summit of the alliance in Vilnius," Suslov said.
What could Turkey's conditions be like?
The analyst does not rule out that Turkey could support Sweden's entry into the alliance in exchange for supplies of US F-16 fighter jets, permission to maintain active economic relations with Russia, and economic aid from the West, which the republic needs after the earthquake.
"In general, if Erdogan now gets the F-16s and retains the S-400 systems, that would be a pretty good deal for supporting Sweden's admission to NATO. In addition, Erdogan is making sure that the West do not impose strong secondary sanctions on Turkey and allows him to maintain intensive economic relations with Russia," Suslov said. He pointed out that the Turkish leader was now interested in strengthening his status and the position of his country in the eyes of the leaders of the collective West over the five years he will be president.
"Erdogan is very interested in receiving greater economic aid from the West after the earthquakes for Turkey's reconstruction and for stabilizing the macroeconomic situation," the analyst explained.
Suslov also pointed out that despite the outspoken Western support for the opposition’s candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, in Turkey's presidential elections, "Erdogan is not interested in demonstratively severing relations with the West after his election victory, worsening relations with the United States and NATO, or definitely taking the side of, so to speak, Russia and China in the standoff with the West."
"Erdogan will be committed to a policy of balance, a policy of equal proximity, I would say, to the West and to Russia, without risking Turkey's membership of NATO," he concluded.
NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in Istanbul after talks with Erdogan on Sunday that Sweden had met Turkey's requirements under the trilateral memorandum and was eligible for NATO membership.