NATO: Turkey threatens again to block Sweden and Finland’s membership

NATO: Turkey threatens again to block Sweden and Finland’s membership

Turkey will not ratify Sweden and Finland’s application for NATO membership “until the promises” made by both countries are “fulfilled,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday. “As long as the promises made to our country are not kept, we will stick to our fundamental position,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been threatening since mid-May to block the accession of the two Nordic countries to the Atlantic Alliance, to the Turkish National Assembly.

“We are closely following whether the promises made by Sweden and Finland are being kept or not, and the final decision is of course up to our grand assembly,” the head of state added. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who insisted on the importance of the “fight against terrorism,” accused the two countries of protecting Kurdish fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who Ankara views as terrorists.

Difficult negotiations over several months

To date, 28 out of thirty member states of the Atlantic Alliance have ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland. Only Hungary and Turkey have yet to give their final approval to Parliament. In a major gesture of concession to Turkey to get the green light from Ankara to join NATO, Sweden announced on Friday that it has re-authorized exports of military equipment to Turkey. The lifting of these restrictions was one of the conditions set by Ankara.

During the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June, Sweden, Finland and Turkey signed a memorandum opening up the accession of the two Nordic nations to NATO. But the Turkish president immediately threatened to veto the agreement if certain conditions were not met.

A Swedish delegation is due to visit Turkey for further negotiations on Wednesday and Thursday. A tripartite meeting had already taken place in Finland at the end of August. One of the most sensitive points concerns dozens of extradition requests from Ankara opponents – mainly Kurdish activists or the Gülenist movement.

Stockholm and Helsinki emphasize that the process is subject to court decisions independent of the executive. At the beginning of September, Finland had rejected Turkey’s request for the review of six extradition requests. Sweden in August approved the first extradition of a Turkish national since the Madrid Accords, but the file concerned credit card fraud.


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