Unless Sweden and Finland take steps to satisfy Ankara’s security requirements, Turkey might still “freeze” their membership in NATO, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Earlier this month, Turkey dropped its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, but it issued a warning that it would still obstruct the process if those nations refused to extradite suspects with ties to banned Kurdish organizations or the network of an exiled cleric suspected of planning a failed coup in 2016.
The parliaments of all 30 NATO members still need to accept the Nordic nations’ membership, and Turkey’s parliament might decide not to ratify the agreement.
“I would like to remind once again that if these countries do not take the necessary steps to fulfill our conditions, we will freeze the (accession) process,” Erdogan said in a televised address following a Cabinet meeting. “Our stance on this issue is very clear. The rest is up to them.”
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Erdogan made the general claim that Sweden wasn’t “projecting a favorable image,” but he didn’t go into any detail.
Finland and Sweden did not immediately respond to Erdogan’s remarks.
The two nations are accused by Turkey of being too indulgent with organisations that pose a threat to national security. The government has submitted additional petitions for the extradition of terrorist suspects sought by Turkey, according to the justice minister of Turkey earlier this month.
A joint memorandum that was signed by Turkey, Sweden, and Finland at the NATO summit last month permitted the military alliance to proceed with requesting the Nordic nations to join as a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland and Sweden committed to respond to Turkey’s “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects promptly and completely… in conformity with the European Convention on Extradition” via the memorandum.