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GREEK NEWS

Turkey postpones indefinitely NATO talks with Sweden, Finland

January 25, 2023
FEATURED, Politics, Turkey-GR

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NATO membership negotiations between Turkey, Sweden and Finland have been postponed indefinitely at Ankara’s request, an Ankara source told RIA Novosti.

Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO on May 18 amid the events in Ukraine.

Ankara is demanding that Stockholm and Helsinki “stop supporting the PKK” and extradite activists considered in Turkey to be “involved in terrorism.”

Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated that without the fulfillment of these conditions there will be no progress in the admission of the northern countries to NATO.

Following talks postponement, both Sweden and Finland expressed wish to resume talks.

Sweden wants to resume dialogue with Turkey, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Tuesday, shortly after the latter announced that it has canceled upcoming talks with Stockholm and Helsinki on their NATO membership following the Quran burning incident on the weekend.

“Our collective message is that we want to call for calm, for reflection, for calm in the process so that we can return to functioning talks between Sweden, Finland and Turkey on our common NATO membership,” Kristersson told a news conference, adding that he wanted a return to “dialogue.”

Ankara announced its decision one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Sweden and said it should not expect Türkiye’s support for its NATO bid for allowing weekend protests that included the burning of the Quran outside Turkey’s embassy.

“If Sweden prefers terrorist sympathizers and Islamophobes, then Türkiye suggests they should let them defend their country too,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out after the Quran incident.

Kristersson said there were “provocateurs who wanted to spoil Sweden’s relations with other countries” and foil its bid to join the U.S.-led Western military alliance.

Sweden and Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, decided jointly to end their decades-long policies of military non-alignment, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their plans won formal support at a historic NATO summit in June, after which the two countries’ bids were swiftly ratified by 28 of NATO’s 30 member states.

Bids to join NATO must be ratified by all members of the alliance, of which Türkiye is a member.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Tuesday for the first time floated the idea that it may have to consider joining the alliance alone while stressing that a joint accession remained the “first option.”

Sweden and Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, decided jointly to end their decades-long policies of military non-alignment, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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