Since the start of this conflict in Ukraine, Turkey’s export of (cheap) energy (oil and gas) from Russia has increased manifold. This supply of cheap energy is helping Erdogan keep the country’s economy afloat. Not only is it buying discounted gas, but it is also paying for the gas in roubles rather than USD. Paying in roubles helps the Russian currency and it helps the Turkish economy as well. Turkey is not only importing from Russia. Turkish exports to Russia, in fact, rose by 45 per cent in 2022. In short, the way Turkey’s ties are constituted with Russia at the moment leaves little room for Turkey’s support for NATO’s expansion.
Blocking Sweden’s membership is a matter for Erdogan that is not simply a geo-political question. The recent burning of the Holy Quran has allowed him to add a religious fervour as well, as he said that “Those who allow such blasphemy in front of our embassy [in Stockholm] can no longer expect our support for their NATO membership”, adding that “if you do not show respect to the religious beliefs of the Republic of Turkiye or Muslims, you will not receive any support for NATO [membership] from us.”
For now, however, things are unlikely to change for the next few months. Depending on how the conflict unfolds in Ukraine, the international geo-political scenario could possibly change in the next few months in ways leaving little to no room for sea changes.It’s Turkey vs NATO – once again | New Eastern Outlook