US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to arrive in Ankara, Turkey today for diplomatic talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Discussions will likely revolve around the Israel-Hamas conflict as well as Sweden’s pending accession to NATO. Last month, Erdogan ended the country’s stalling of the approval process by submitting Sweden’s bid to the Turkish parliament. A major part of securing this approval is the sale of F-16 fighter jets from the US. As the sale’s approval is uncertain in the US Congress, Blinken’s visit will likely focus on reassuring Turkish officials.
Should Turkey formally ratify Sweden’s NATO accession, the last remaining state yet to ratify the accession would be Hungary. While Hungarian officials have raised demands that Swedish officials withdraw comments related to the state of democracy and rule of law in Hungary, such demands are unlikely to derail the process due to the lack of significant concessions Sweden could make to Hungary in comparison to Turkey As such, Blinken’s visit and subsequent ratification of Sweden’s bid in Turkey will likely complete the 2022-2023 expansion of NATO.
Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.