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Turkey rejects Sweden and Finland’s bid for NATO membership

Regarding Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once more pointed guns in their direction on Saturday while stating that Ankara maintains its fundamental stance. Erdogan stated that unless the commitments made to Ankara were kept, he might not ratify the two Nordic countries’ applications to join NATO.

In the country’s parliament, Erdogan declared, ‘We will maintain our principled stand until the commitments made to our country are followed’. In the address, he also stated, ‘We are keenly watching whether the commitments made by Sweden and Finland are followed or not, and of course, the final decision will be up to our great parliament’.

Erdogan keeps criticising Finland and Sweden for giving refuge to Kurdish ‘terrorists’. The Nordic nations have angered the Turkish government by placing an arms embargo on Ankara in response to Turkey’s engagement in the Syrian crisis in 2019.

The three nations did, however, come to an agreement in June, whereby Turkey stated that, rather than ratifying Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO signing forms, it would seek the extradition of 33 individuals from those two nations.  Erdogan’s remarks on Saturday, however, seem to imply that both Sweden and Finland fell short of their commitments.  After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of this year, both Nordic nations hastened the process of joining the nuclear-armed alliance.

According to WION, for Sweden and Finland to formally join NATO, allies must sign the ratification. Once the application has been signed by each of the 30 NATO members, the accession will be complete. 28 of the 30 nations have so far signed the agreement. Only Turkey and Hungary have not yet signed a document. Putin had consistently cautioned against NATO expansion before the invasion, saying it was a threat to Russia and went against promises made to it as the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991.

‘Unlike Ukraine, Sweden and Finland are not a source of contention for us. Sweden and Finland may join if they so choose. They are responsible for deciding that. Any group they choose to join is welcome’, according to Putin. The Russian president did issue a warning, though, saying that ‘if military infrastructure and contingents were stationed there, we would be required to respond symmetrically and raise the same concerns for those territories where risks have emerged for us’.




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