The Strongman Cometh

Why Erdoğan suddenly has a problem with Finland and Sweden joining NATO

Despite the fulminations of the Kremlin’s television propagandists and Russian bureaucrats seeking to anticipate the dictator’s views, it appears that Vladimir Putin has “no problem” with Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Despite earlier threats by a variety of Russian officials that the Nordic neutrals joining NATO would provoke “military-technical” reactions, including the possible deployment of nuclear weapons, it seems that Putin has bowed to the inevitable after a calm, respectful phone call with Finland’s impressive and statesmanlike President Sauli Niinisto. Despite Putin’s retreat, Turkey’s authoritarian boss Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suddenly interposed his own objections, saying at first that Turkey was “not favorable” to Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO and subsequently doubling down, arguing that, “We will not say ‘yes’ to those [countries] who apply sanctions to Turkey.”

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