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Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.

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Germany ponders its future role in the Sahel

Germany ponders its future role in the Sahel

Germany’s minister of foreign affairs Annalena Baerbock is visiting the Sahel ahead of a government decision on extending the Bundeswehr’s mission in the region. Amidst renewed political instability and terrorist activity in the Sahel, Baerbock must decide whether German troops will continue their commitment to MINUSMA - the UN peacekeeping mission in the region – and the EUTM, the European Union Training Mission. 300 German soldiers participate in the EUTM mission in Mali, while approximately 1000 soldiers are stationed there as part of MINUSMA. However, beyond the terrorist threat in the region, which has already caused 2.1 million internal displacements in the past 8 years according to the UN, it is the war in Ukraine which could have the most direct repercussions in West Africa. Ukraine, the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wheat, is currently incapable of delivering wheat flour to the Sahel region, causing food insecurity for millions of people.
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GEU Podcast: After Ukraine, can we still talk about soft power? - with Prof Jamie Shea

GEU Podcast: After Ukraine, can we still talk about soft power? - with Prof Jamie Shea

“EU soft power will still be a factor, but I think the EU now recognises that this works more with like-minded countries that aspire to join the EU... The notion that soft power works on countries with different political systems – I think that has been, if you like, the victim of the Ukrainian crisis” says Prof Jamie Shea in this episode of our Global Europe Unpacked podcast.