Turkey’s president says parliament will approve Finland’s membership bid, while Sweden remains in limbo
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country’s parliament would ratify Finland’s application to join the NATO bloc. Before Finland and Sweden could join the alliance, Turkey demanded that the Nordic countries crack down on suspected Kurdish terrorists.
“We have decided to launch Finland’s NATO accession protocol in our parliament,” he added. Erdogan told reporters, following a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Ankara. “As regards fulfilling its commitments in the Trilateral MoU, we have seen that Finland has taken genuine and concrete steps,” he added. The Turkish leader added.
Finland and Sweden renounced their neutrality and asked to join the US-led bloc last May in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Access to NATO, however, requires the unanimous consent of all existing members, and Erdogan demanded that the two candidates lift arms embargoes against Turkey, extradite suspected Kurdish and Gulenist terrorists and investigate the activities of the Party. workers from Kurdistan (PKK) within their borders. .
Finland and Sweden agreed to these demands in a trilateral memorandum signed last June. However, Ankara has accused Stockholm of keeping its promises. Swedish authorities deny the charges, but Erdogan remains unconvinced, and the Swedish authorities’ refusal to stop a recent Koran-burning protest has further heightened tensions.
Sweden’s chances of joining NATO, he said on Friday, “will be directly linked to the concrete measures that Sweden will take” in the “combat terrorism”.
Although Sweden and Finland initially said they would join NATO “together,” the two nations have since admitted they will likely join separately. “It is not excluded that Sweden and Finland ratify in different stages”, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters earlier this week.
Speaking after Friday’s meeting, Niinisto said his own country’s membership bid would not be “Complete without Sweden” adding that the two states “have so much common interest, being neighbors in the Baltic Sea region.”
Apart from Turkey, all current NATO members except Hungary have ratified the demands of Sweden and Finland. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he was in favor of the two states joining the alliance, but also accused politicians in Stockholm and Helsinki of “spreading blatant lies” on his Conservative government.