The Turkish Anadolu news agency posted an interview with two international political experts, as they shed spotlight on the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attendance at the NATO summit at the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
Erdoğan talks with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, was described by Türkiye as the beginning of a new phase with Washington.
The meeting between Erdoğan and Biden was the culmination of a series of high-level diplomatic contacts between Türkiye and the United States in the run-up to the Vilnius summit, including three phone calls between Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his US counterpart Antony Blinken in just 5 days, as well as a phone call between Erdoğan and Biden, last Sunday.
Commenting on this development in bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington, Luke Coffey, a senior researcher at the Hudson Institute in Washington, expressed “cautious optimism” in this regard.
“We can take advantage of the situation now to strengthen bilateral relations between the United States and Türkiye”.
He added, “We’re currently witnessing an opportunity to build confidence, whether through Sweden’s accession to NATO, or the United States selling F16 aircraft to Türkiye, which is a positive developments”.
Coffey believed that Stockholm had addressed the legitimate complaints and concerns raised by developments about the role of the PKK inside Sweden.
Coffey noted that this development provides an opportunity for another new relationship between the two countries.
In turn, Jeffrey Mankoff, senior assistant in the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, believed that Erdoğan might have secured what he wanted to get, without elaborating.
“President Erdoğan held out until the last minute to get the most concessions, both from Sweden when it comes to targeting PKK activity or related groups, and from the US and other members when it comes to arms sales and sanctions,” Mankoff said.
He also considered that the desire to improve relations with NATO and Western powers more broadly after the war in Ukraine also played a role in these developments.
Speaking of Ukraine’s dream of joining the military alliance and the criticism of its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, NATO countries’ hesitation in inviting his country to start the joining process.
Researcher at the Hudson Institute, Luke Coffey, considered that the desire of NATO leaders is limited to include a country in the alliance while it is in a state of war with another country.
The closing statement of the Vilnius Summit indicated that Ukraine’s accession to the coalition confirmed after the members agree and the required conditions met, without specifying them.
“I think there is a consensus that Ukraine should be in NATO one day, and the statement clearly states that, but this cannot happen now, because Ukraine is engaged in a war,” Coffey added.
Coffey explained that the most important thing that the Vilnius statement carried in relation to Kiev was NATO members’ abandonment of the action plan for accepting membership.
In this regard, the Turkish president stressed, during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, that Ukraine “deserves NATO membership”.
According to Coffey, Ankara’s position on Kiev’s accession is a continuation of Türkiye’s long-term policy to support NATO expansion.
He continued, “Türkiye has been one of the most vocal supporters of NATO expansion, whether it is North Macedonia, Georgia or Ukraine, and this is a great example of Türkiye’s leadership role within the alliance”.