For the past year and a half, Turkey, a NATO member, has repeatedly refused to ratify ascension for future candidate Sweden. Ankara currently holds Stockholm as a “terrorist haven” as one of their justifications for the lack of ratification, but recently, the Turkish Republic has been put under the spotlight.

Hamas’ deadly terror attacks on October 7 have put the world on edge, and the Middle East is heading towards a regional conflict that will affect millions of people. Turkey’s ties with Hamas and their incredibly hostile rhetoric with a major non-NATO ally in Israel now puts the Turkish government’s hypocrisy in full view regarding combating terrorist organizations.

Turkey’s Cavalier Politics to Sweden’s NATO Bid

During the spring of 2022, Finland and Sweden, reassessing their security apparatus, decided to apply for formal NATO membership as Russia became a bad-faith actor. The application between the two Nordic nations is well received by every NATO member, save for Turkey and, by extension, Hungary.

Ankara and Budapest would clarify their disputes were aimed more at Stockholm than Helsinki, and Finland would later be ratified into NATO in 2023. Hungary’s objections include disputes with Sweden over EU policies, and Turkey’s objections would include Sweden’s sheltering of PKK members along with Turkish and Kurdish dissidents.

The ruling AKP party of Turkey continuously states Sweden does not meet their requirements for NATO membership, and the amnesties given to dissidents that are wanted by the state constitute their red line on ascension, which the Turkish Republic has maintained since the initial PKK insurgency in the late 80s.

Ankara has explicitly stated they will not ratify Stockholm’s membership until extraditions of dissidents wanted by the Turkish state take place. Though Sweden has committed steps, there is a conflict over international law and Swedish courts over the potential human rights breaches of said extraditions.

The Turkish and Swedish flags via DreamsTime

Turkey at the Forefront over Hamas Ties

Despite Turkey’s geopolitical gridlock with Sweden, the country and Qatar have come under the limelight in the aftermath of the October 7th terrorist attacks against Israel. Despite asking the group’s leadership to leave on October 23, the ties to Hamas may backfire on Turkish foreign policy, even when Erdogan signed Sweden’s ascension on the same day.