Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a “bazaar mentality” because of his attitude towards possible Finland and Sweden joining NATO. One knows how bazaars work in Turkey, said Asselborn on Tuesday in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”. “And sometimes the mentality, especially Erdogan’s, is also shaped by it.”

Sweden and Finland are striving to join the western military alliance as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Erdogan had signaled that Turkey was critical of such an admission. He accused both countries of supporting “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.

In Asselborn’s opinion, Turkey’s concern is not the Kurdish question at all, but the delivery of US F16 fighter jets – such a deal is politically controversial in Washington. “I think Erdogan wants to increase the price and wants to put pressure on that to happen.” This is a dangerous game.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht sees it differently: she doesn’t expect Turkey to permanently block Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO, the SPD politician said on Tuesday at the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels. “Ultimately, it is an enrichment for NATO when two EU countries that are as strong as Finland and Sweden join NATO. (…) And I am firmly convinced that Turkey can also be convinced of this.”