Türkiye unfavorable for Sweden’s NATO bid

Türkiye unfavorable for Sweden’s NATO bid

Türkiye unfavorable for Sweden’s NATO bid

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Türkiye has reiterated its unfavorable position for Sweden’s bid to join NATO while repeating it can ratify Finland’s accession to the alliance separately, ahead of the third round of trilateral meetings that will take place in Brussels on March 9.

“There are commitments made [by these two countries] on their accession to NATO. It is not possible for us to say ‘Yes’ to the Swedish NATO membership before seeing that these commitments are fulfilled,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a press conference with visiting Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Ankara on Feb. 27.

Szijjarto paid a visit to Türkiye to show solidarity and convey condolences after the earthquakes killed more than 40,000 people and almost destroyed 11 provinces in the country’s southeastern Anatolian region. Hungary was among the nations that swiftly dispatched search and rescue teams and delivered humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquakes. Çavuşoğlu thanked Hungary for generous and genuine assistance to Türkiye on its most difficult day.

On the political front, Türkiye and Hungary are two NATO allies that have not yet ratified the accession protocols of Sweden and Finland although the remaining 28 members have already fulfilled the procedures.

Çavuşoğlu recalled that Türkiye, Sweden and Finland signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines a road map the two Nordic states should implement on the anti-terror fight in line with Türkiye’s demand. The deal stipulates Sweden and Finland to take more effective measures against the presence and activities of the terror organizations, the PKK and FETÖ.

“Our president has openly said that we are more favorable to Finland’s membership. We can separate and ratify their case. But is it impossible for us to approve the Swedish application before they fulfill the commitments,” he suggested.

Third meeting in Brussels

Recalling that Türkiye suspended the talks with both countries following the burning of Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, the minister informed that the next round of the three-way meeting will be held in Brussels on March 9.

“It will be good to have this meeting in Brussels. It will be held on March 9. It will be openly seen that Sweden is not fulfilling the commitments,” he said, referring to the NATO officials who will also take part in the meeting.

The first two rounds of talks were held in Finland and Sweden. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They expect to join the alliance before the NATO leaders’ summit to be held in July in Lithuania.