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Stories related to defence, strategy and cooperation. 

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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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The imminent threat of war in Europe

The imminent threat of war in Europe

The United States has called on all its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country before Monday, as war in Europe now appears imminent. Unofficial American sources say it is possible the Russian invasion of Ukraine will start on Wednesday, 16 February. The UK, the Netherlands and Latvia are among the countries that have also told their citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately. The EU has told its non-essential staff in Kyiv to leave also.
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Russia increases naval pressure against Ukraine

Russia increases naval pressure against Ukraine

Russian military warships are preparing for military drills in the Black Sea.  Six Russian warships sailed from the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosphorus onto the Black Sea earlier this week. They will join other elements of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Russian occupied Crimea. The drills will partially close parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, effectively cutting parts of Ukraine off from open waters
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‘Hard versus Soft Power: Is it time for an EU army?’

‘Hard versus Soft Power: Is it time for an EU army?’

LINKS Europe in collaboration with The City of The Hague, and with the support of The Hague Humanity Hub, hosted the fifth in a series of clusters of events titled ‘Conversations on the future of Europe in the world’ on Thursday, 3 February 2022. The event was hosted online from the LINKS Europe office in the The Hague, and around 50 participants joined. The series ‘Conversations on the future of Europe in the world’ contributes to the debate in the framework of the EU’s ‘Conference on the future of Europe’ process.