Turkish Leader Erdogan Says More Military Aid to Ukraine Will Prolong War

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently criticized fellow NATO member state’s decision to supply Ukraine with over 300 tanks to lengthen the war against Russia. He described this as a “high-risk move.”  

“I personally can’t say that sending tanks will resolve this issue,” Erdogan said to state media outlet TRT during an interview that took place on  February 1, 2023. “This is a high-risk endeavor and will only line the pockets of gun barons,” he continued. 

In addition, the Turkish leader noted that his nation would continue diplomatic talks with both Russia and Ukraine in order to peacefully resolve this conflict.

Erdogan’s criticism of NATO is one of the most recent ruptures between Turkey and the military alliance. Over the last year, Turkey has annoyed NATO by blocking Sweden and Finland’s ascension into the military alliance.

The Nordic nations formally applied to join the military alliance back in May, which reflects a major deviation from their multi-decade policy of neutrality. Countries applying for NATO membership must receive unanimous approval from member states. 

Earlier in February, Erdogan said Turkey “looks positively” on Finland’s bid for NATO membership, but does not back Sweden’s application.

While Turkey is often a nasty actor on the geopolitical arena, — its invasion of Syria, its involvement in Libya, and its backing of Azerbaijan against Armenia, and its saber-ratting against Greece — it has stirred the pot by hedging against both the East and the West. 

A once great power, Turkey is looking to re-assert itself on the world stage and claim its spot as a geopolitical heavyweight. It’s using the Russo-Ukrainian conflict to build its position in the ever-chaotic multipolar world.

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