Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he would freeze Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO if they failed to fulfill promises they made last month to win Turkey’s backing. .
Applications from Sweden and Finland – which decided to join NATO after decades of neutrality following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – were initially blocked by alliance member Turkey due to Claims that Scandinavian Countries Support “Terrorism”.
The three countries signed a deal at a NATO summit in Madrid in July, which saw Ankara lift its veto in return for commitments from Stockholm and Helsinki on counter-terrorism and exporting oil. weapons.
Erdogan, however, renewed his threat to veto their membership if he believes that the two candidate countries do not implement their agreements. He added that Sweden “is currently not showing a good image”.
What does Turkey expect from the agreement?
Public support for NATO membership skyrocketed in Sweden and Finland after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Their announced offers were initially warmly welcomed by NATO and most of its members, but Turkey threw up a snag in what many saw as a quick process.
Ankara has accused the two countries of supporting Kurdish militants and providing safe haven for those who have fled Turkey. He demanded the return of individuals whom Ankara called “terrorists”.
Erdogan has previously said part of the deal calls for Sweden to extradite 73 people to Turkey for trial. Sweden has denied accepting such measures.
The Scandinavian country has taken in people fleeing persecution in Turkey. Many of Erdogan’s opponents – including lawmakers, human rights activists and journalists – have often ended up in jail on what are generally considered trumped up charges.
ab/nm (Reuters, AFP)