Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said Turkey should be thrown out of NATO if that’s what is necessary to accept Finland and Sweden into the military alliance, local media reported on Monday.
The two Nordic nations abandoned their earlier hesitation about joining the Western alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But all NATO members must agree, and Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden, in particular, of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists” as well as some political dissidents and has refrained from ratifying their NATO bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.
The country has set the extradition of people it deems terrorists from Sweden and Finland as a precondition for the approval of both countries’ NATO membership.
Bolton on Monday answered questions regarding the ratification of the two countries’ NATO bids during a program on Swedish TV channel SVT2, saying Turkey should be thrown out of the alliance if necessary.
Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton says to Swedish television that Turkey should be thrown out of NATO.
"Erdogan is a thug, a Mussolini in waiting". pic.twitter.com/8GzXupzQx0
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“Given Turkey’s behavior … it’s time for us to make a decision whether we take Turkey seriously as an ally,” Bolton said.
He added that there were a lot of ways to exclude a member state from NATO under the international law doctrine “rebus sic stantibus,” including dissolving the entire alliance and reforming it.
“Clausula rebus sic stantibus” is a doctrine that allows for the contract or treaty to be withdrawn from or terminated when there is a fundamental change in the circumstances of the contract or treaty. It helps to circumvent the principle of “pacta sunt servanda,” which stipulates that all states must abide by the agreements formed between them in good faith.
When asked to analyze Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s reason’s for obstructing the Nordic nations’ membership, Bolton said it was because the president was a “thug, a Mussolini in waiting,” referring to Italy’s fascist dictator.
“He’s trying to impose on hopefully soon-to-be NATO members the oppression he engages in in Turkey,” Bolton said.
He added that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system was “virtually a withdrawal from NATO itself.”
Despite warnings from the US and other NATO allies, Erdoğan brokered a deal worth $2.5 billion with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the S-400 missile system in 2017 and started taking delivery of the first S-400s in July 2019. In response, Washington removed Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.
The S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, could pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as to the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform.
Washington imposed sanctions in December 2020 on Turkey’s military procurement agency for its purchase of the system under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which mandates penalties for transactions deemed harmful to US interests.