Turkey, the odd man out in NATO, plans to veto any move to bring Finland and Sweden into the alliance. At least, that is the official position. Erdogan’s real agenda is something simpler: blackmail.
Notionally, this is about the presence of a handful of Kurdish militants in Nordic exile. In reality, this is about the fact that Turkey under Erdogan has come to much more closely resemble Vladimir Putin’s Russia in its fundamental political character than it does any of its fellow NATO members. Turkey has developed close economic and political relations with Russia, and Erdogan has worked hard not to irritate Putin during the Ukraine war. Every political axis needs a third member, and Ankara today fits more easily between Moscow and Beijing than it does between Paris and Berlin.
NATO is not only a military alliance. It is also a community of liberal-democratic values — values which Turkey rejects with increasing vigor and openness. The West once hoped — naively, as it turns out — that Erdogan would carry the banners of secularism, democracy, and liberty for the Turkish people, but he has led Turkey in the opposite direction: toward Islamist politics, authoritarianism, and tyranny.