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Biden offered Erdogan IMF money to ratify Sweden NATO bid – Seymour Hersh

Updated: Mar 14

Ankara this week rolled back its opposition to Stockholm joining the US-led bloc.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed on Thursday that US President Joe Biden offered his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than $11 billion in IMF assistance to ratify Sweden’s bid to join the NATO bloc.

In an article posted to his Substack account, Hersh wrote:

“I have been told a different, secret story about Erdogan’s turnabout: Biden promised that a much-needed $11-13 billion line of credit would be extended to Turkey by the International Monetary Fund.”

“Biden had to have a victory and Turkey is in acute financial stress,” an official with direct knowledge of the transaction told me.

Turkey lost 100,000 people in the earthquake last February, and has four million buildings to rebuild.

“What could be better than Erdogan”—under Biden's tutelage, the official asked, “finally having seen the light and realizing he is better off with NATO and West Europe?”

Reporters were told, according to the New York Times, that Biden called Erdogan while flying to Europe on Sunday. Biden’s coup, the Times reported, would enable him to say that Putin got “exactly what he did not want: an expanded, more direct NATO alliance.” There was no mention of bribery.

Erdogan, who was re-elected as Turkish leader in late May, is currently facing the mammoth task of replacing or repairing hundreds of thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed in February’s earthquakes in which at least 50,000 lost their lives.

Türkiye had previously opposed Sweden’s accession to the bloc, largely due to Ankara’s stance that Stockholm has harbored militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which was involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state in the 1980s. The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by Türkiye, Sweden, Europe and the United States.

“What could be better for Erdogan,” Hersh wrote of the American and Turkish presidents’ alleged arrangement, quoting an official familiar with it, than him “finally having seen the light and realizing he is better off with NATO and Western Europe?”

The report also referenced a June financial analysis of Ankara’s coffers by the independent think tank Council on Foreign Relations, which cast a dire economic outlook for Erdogan to navigate in the early stages of his latest term as leader.

It said that Türkiye stands on the precipice of an “imminent financial crisis” and if facing a choice “between selling its gold, an avoidable default, or swallowing the bitter pill of a complete policy reversal and possibly an IMF program.”

Hersh, 86, generated headlines earlier this year when he claimed he had been informed –also by an anonymous source– that the United States was responsible for last year’s explosions that neutered the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines that supply energy from Russia to Europe. Washington dismissed the claims as “complete fiction.”

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