Istanbul, Turkey – Turkey is holding the West at the table by signaling to thwart NATO expansion, dragging its feet on sanctions against Russia, and playing a mediator role in the Ukraine war. Meanwhile, Greece escalated tensions with Turkey amid Ukraine war.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has alarmed Finland and Sweden enough to reverse their decades-old policies and apply for immediate membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, what seemed like something that was not easy for the Alliance quickly hit a roadblock due to Turkey’s security concerns.

When it comes to admitting new countries into the alliance, NATO guidelines require unanimous approval among members.

Turkey is not an ordinary NATO member. Russia’s location in the south, control of access to the Black Sea, borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, and its long Mediterranean coast all add to its geostrategic importance to the Alliance.

Turkey has successfully placed its strategic position in a bargaining position, forcing its allies to often step back and allow its demands to be overlooked, particularly by USA, at home and abroad.

Turkey has successfully placed its strategic position in a bargaining position that has allowed its strategic activities at home and abroad to be overlooked. The USA gave full support to Finland and Sweden in their applications to join NATO.

Paradoxically, the U.S. administration was always very cautious, taking action to approve the sale of new F-16s to Turkey despite congressional opposition. With the cancellation of the F-35 program, Turkey needs to renew its existing fleet of fighter jets.

Regarding NATO’s enlargement, Turkey preferred to go public instead of silently voicing its objections and demands behind closed doors. In doing so, Turkey gives a clear security concerns message to the United States and other sanctioning allies.

In the process of Sweden and Finland eventually becoming NATO members, the only question to be determined is when. Turkey approves the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO in a process where reasonable security demands will be met.