TURKEY. Ankara: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, has signalled that Ankara may consent to Finland joining NATO before Sweden amid escalating tensions with Stockholm.
“We may deliver Finland a different message (on their NATO application), and Sweden would be shocked when they see our message. But Finland should not make the same mistake Sweden did,” Erdogan said in a speech broadcast on television on Sunday.
Sweden and Finland submitted NATO membership applications last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. To be accepted, they must receive the approval of all member counties.
Turkey or Hungary still need to ratify the membership of the Nordic nations. The bids are anticipated to be approved by the Hungarian parliament in February.
Erdogan’s main complaint has been that Sweden won’t hand over dozens of people who Ankara says are linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a failed coup attempt in 2016.
“We handed Sweden a list of 120 people and instructed them to extradite those terrorists in their nation.” Erdogan said, referring to the deal Turkey made with Finland and Sweden about their NATO applications last June, “Sorry about that if you don’t extradite them.”
Last week, Turkey postponed NATO negotiations with Sweden and Finland following a protest in Stockholm where a far-right politician burned a copy of the Quran.
Ulf Kristersson, the prime minister of Sweden, stated that his nation wished to reopen NATO discussions with Turkey. Still, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, said on Thursday that it was meaningless to begin such conversations again.
Cavusoglu also said that there was no offer to look at Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO separately.
Also Read: Turkey’s President Warns Sweden on NATO Bid after Qur’an Burning Protest