Erdogan says Turkey may accept Finland's NATO membership, but will oppose Sweden's

Finland lodged its application to join NATO, along with Sweden, last year (Photo: Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa via Reuters/File)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that Ankara may accept Finland into NATO before deciding on Sweden's admission.

Erdogan said just days after Ankara paused NATO accession discussions with the two nations following a protest in Stockholm where a far-right politician burnt a Quran.

"We might convey a different message to Finland [about their NATO application], and Sweden would be startled to receive our message. But Finland should not make the same error as Sweden," Erdogan stated in a Sunday broadcast address.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, abandoning their historic military nonalignment.

Turkey and Hungary are the only members of the 30-nation alliance that have not yet approved their participation. The bids are anticipated to be approved by the Hungarian parliament in February.

Erdogan's primary grievance has been Sweden's failure to deport scores of individuals that Ankara has tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the failed 2016 coup.

To rally his conservative and nationalist followers, he has taken a hard stance on Sweden's NATO membership ahead of the May election.

Sunday, Erdogan reiterated his demand that Sweden gives over approximately 120 suspects.

Erdogan stated, "If you want to join NATO, you must return these terrorists to us."

You will send us these terrorists to join NATO.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson stated that his nation desires to resume NATO talks with Turkey.

Saturday night, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a travel advisory for European countries due to anti-Turkish demonstrations and Islamophobia.

The warning noted a spike in anti-Turkish protests by "groups with ties to terror groups," a reference to the PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish government since 1984.

During rallies in Sweden organized in response to Sweden and Finland's vow to ban PKK activity in their countries to gain Turkey's approval for their NATO membership, pro-Kurdish groups flew the flags of the PKK and its affiliates.

Erdogan stated that Turkey had supplied a list of 120 individuals it wants to be extradited from Sweden as part of this memorandum.

Publish : 2023-01-30 10:12:00

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