Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, May 18, 2022 (Anadolu)

As Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, I joined Turkey’s ANews to analyze President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threat to veto Swedish and Finnish membership of NATO.

I explain that Erdoğan is bargaining to exact a price from Sweden, Finland, the US, and Europe: a Swedish and Finnish crackdown on Kurdish organizations; supply of US warplanes to Turkey; concessions by Washington over its support of the Kurdish-controlled area in northeast Syria; and more European funds for Turkey’s hosting of Syrian refugees.

All of this is taking place amid a worsening Turkish economy — and a Presidential election next year.

Erdoğan is not dealing with this from a security standpoint. He’s like a businessman in a transaction, trying to get the best bargain.