SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Turkey says it could evaluate Finland NATO bid separate from Sweden

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, stated on Monday that Turkey could assess Finland’s NATO application independently of Sweden’s, following riots in Stockholm that included the burning of a Koran, which infuriated Ankara.

“Setting a boundary between a troublesome and a less problematic nation is a fair strategy. If NATO and those nations agree, we can assess (Finnish and Swedish) applications for NATO independently “Added Cavusoglu.

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and need all member countries’ approval to join. Turkey and Hungary are yet to ratify the Nordic countries’ membership.

President Tayyip Erdogan has thrust the debate over NATO expansion into a campaign ahead of Turkey’s tight presidential and parliamentary elections in May, rallying his supporters.

Turkey is never against NATO’s expansion, Cavusoglu added. But the steps taken by Sweden according to a trilateral agreement signed last year are not enough, he said.

 

Last week, Turkey suspended NATO talks with Sweden and Finland over the protests in Stockholm. Erdogan signalled on Sunday that Ankara may agree to Finland joining NATO ahead of Sweden.

Turkey says Sweden, in particular, harbours what it says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

    Source:
  • Reuters