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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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Opinion
Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

Opinion: Historic developments are taking place in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, but the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time

On May 22, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Brussels with the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the peace process. It is worth noting that since the beginning of this year, the representatives of the two South Caucasian republics have met exclusively via the mediation of the EU, while the only Russia-mediated meeting – that of the foreign ministers held on May 12 –  took place on the sidelines of another major event and brought about no novelty in the negotiations. The Brussels summit, however, delivered some very important outcomes which, if implemented, will constitute a critical breakthrough in the peace process. The quick implementation of some of the issues agreed by president Aliyev and prime minister Pashinyan at their meeting in Brussels, can be described as truly historic, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. "But the signing of a peace treaty will likely take a longer time, and necessitate an agreement not only between Baku and Yerevan, but also between Moscow and Brussels", he adds.

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Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ordered the start of strategic nuclear exercises involving launches of ballistic missiles. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin, took part in military exercises alongside Putin from a situation centre in the Kremlin. There is intense speculation that Russia will launch an attack against Ukraine in the next days. Speaking to the media in Lithuania on Saturday, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russian forces were beginning to "uncoil and move closer" to the border with Ukraine.
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Interview
Interview: Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Teimuraz Janjalia, says his country's commitment to the process of reform holds stronger than ever

Interview: Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Teimuraz Janjalia, says his country's commitment to the process of reform holds stronger than ever

In an exclusive interview with commonspace.eu on the margins of his visit this week to The Hague, Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Teimuraz Janjalia reiterated  his country's commitment to the Association Agreement signed with the EU in 2014. "The Association Agreement provides a basis for a strong value-based partnership between EU and Georgia, and we remain firmly committed to it".
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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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A day of high diplomacy: Macron meets Putin in Moscow, Scholz in Washington for talks with Biden

A day of high diplomacy: Macron meets Putin in Moscow, Scholz in Washington for talks with Biden

Monday was a day of high diplomacy as leaders scrambled to try to avoid war in Europe.  Nonetheless western countries continue to assess that the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains real, and could happen at any moment. The Pentagon said on Monday (7 February) that Russia continued its military buildup on the border with Ukraine over the weekend.