US offers Turkiye billions for Swedish NATO membership

The Cradle, July 14, 2023 —

According to Erdogan, Turkiye will not be able to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership until October.

Citing anonymous sources, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed on 13 July that US President Joe Biden has vowed to provide Turkiye with $11-13 billion in credit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for Ankara supporting Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

“Biden promised that a much-needed $11-13 billion line of credit would be extended to Turkiye by the International Monetary Fund,” Hersh wrote in an article published on his website.

The US president “had to have a victory, and Turkiye is in acute financial stress,” he added, citing “an official with direct knowledge of the transaction.”

According to Hersh’s article, Biden attempted to portray the image that he managed to convince Erdogan to “rebuff Vladimir Putin,” bringing him closer to NATO and away from his recently improved ties with Moscow.

A deal was reached between Turkiye and Sweden during a meeting between Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania.

“Sweden has made the necessary amendments to its legislation, stepped up the fight against terrorist aspects of the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party, and resumed military exports to Turkiye,” a six-point document on the deal reads, according to Russian news outlet TASS.

Despite the agreement, Erdogan announced on Wednesday, 12 July, that Ankara will not be able to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership before October, as the parliament does not meet until then.

Relations have been tense between Ankara and Stockholm, as Turkiye has been holding back NATO membership from the country for quite some time, mainly citing concerns over Swedish support and leniency in favor of Kurdish militant groups viewed as terrorist organizations by the Turkish government.

A number of Quran burning incidents, particularly the latest burning, which took place with approval from Swedish police, have also played a part in souring relations, while also drawing worldwide condemnation and protests.

The exchange between Erdogan and Biden comes as Turkiye continues to suffer from a severe economic crisis and crippling inflation, which it is expected will be alleviated by the billions in IMF credit.

“What could be better for Erdogan … finally having seen the light and realizing he is better off with NATO and Western Europe?” Hersh wrote.

In light of this deal, however, Politico reported that Turkish attempts to secure EU membership in exchange for supporting the Swedish NATO bid “has no chance.”

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