Thought for the day

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday it was "meaningless" to hold a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland to discuss their NATO bids after protests this month in Stockholm.

Speaking at a news conference, Cavusoglu also said there is no offer to evaluate Sweden's and Finland's NATO membership seperately.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has said his country wanted to restore NATO dialogue with Turkey after Ankara indefinitely postponed trilateral talks with Sweden and Finland over their membership.

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As expected Turkey on Tuesday announced it has indefinitely postponed any future rounds of talks with Sweden and Finland regarding their NATO membership bids. 

A major meeting was expected to take place in Brussels in February, but this has been dramatically canceled, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported based on diplomatic sources. 

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Turkey has held talks with the United Kingdom over the possible sale of a large package of weapons, including fighter jets, transport planes, engines and frigates, three separate sources familiar with the discussions told Middle East Eye. 

Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar visited London on Sunday, meeting his British counterpart, Ben Wallace.

A Turkish military base near the Bab al-Salama crossing north of Azaz, in the northern Aleppo countryside, was bombarded by missiles reportedly launched by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on 20 January, according to an Al-Mayadeen correspondent.

“The Turkish base near the Bab al-Salama crossing, north of the city of Azaz, was bombed with Grad missiles coming from the SDF areas,” the correspondent said.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went on another provocative and delirious rant, unleashing threats against Greece, even addressing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisin a direct way.

In particular, the Turkish president, speaking at the opening of an educational institution, made a special reference to the Greek prime minister, saying: "Look, Mitsotakis, you're talking here and there again. Keep in mind that the Crazy Turks will come if you attempt to make a mistake."

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Sweden’s refusal to investigate a Kurdish publicity stunt, which saw an effigy of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan being hanged in public, amounts to “supporting terrorism,” Türkiye’s ruling AK Party has said. The incident has further strained relations between Ankara and Stockholm, who remain deadlocked over Sweden's bid to join NATO.

On Wednesday, a life-size dummy depicting Erdogan was hung upside down during a Kurdish rally in central Stockholm.

Against the wishes of Washington, both the Syrian and Turkish leaderships seem to be coming closer to re-establishing ties. After an 11-year break in relations, could such a rapprochement pave the way to closing the final chapter of the brutal Syrian war by breaking the current stalemate?

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm on Tuesday reports posted on Telegram alleging that Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev held talks in Turkey with the former US special representative for Ukraine negotiations, Kurt Volker, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland.

Asked if he could confirm that such a meeting had taken place, he said, "No, I cannot. I can only reiterate my recommendation from yesterday [to downplay the importance of Telegram channels]."

Ukraine has been receiving consignments of controversial cluster munitions from Türkiye, Foreign Policy magazine has reported. Kiev had been asking Washington for the Cold-War-era weapons for months.

The shipments have been taking place since November, current and former US and European officials told the outlet. It was unclear how many of the munitions had been received, or whether they had yet been used on the battlefield.

Ooh, things are getting to be fun! Nothing like watching geopolitical jousting out in the open. Here, we have the US (and NATO) attempting to push around Türkiye, a country that holds far too many cards to meekly accept Western dictates. The immediate contratemps that has just heated up is Türkiye’s threat to block Sweden’s bid to join NATO, which any NATO member can bar.

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