Turkey has said that dialogue with Sweden and Finland on joining NATO is “pointless”, after the appearance of anti-Ankara protests in Stockholm.
“We have not received an official request from Finland to separate its NATO membership effort from Sweden,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said today. Mr. Cavusoglu also said that holding trilateral talks to admit Finland and Sweden to NATO is “nonsense”.
The statement came after protests near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 21 increased bilateral tensions. Protesters protested against Ankara and against Sweden’s attempt to join NATO, and burned a Koran, an act that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said was offensive, especially towards Muslims.
According to Mr. Cavusoglu, there are factions in Sweden that do not want this country to join NATO, so they are trying to “lay mines” into the process. “Sweden has to choose between clearing those mines or stepping on it and the opportunity disappears,” he said.
Sweden and Finland in May 2022 ended decades of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO. To become a member of the bloc, the two countries must have their applications approved by the parliaments of all 30 NATO member states.
Turkey is opposed to admitting Sweden and Finland to NATO because the two Nordic countries have not met their requirements, mainly related to the Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” and related to 2016 coup plot
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on January 24 mentioned that Helsinki should consider joining NATO without Stockholm, but said that “it is too early to consider this scenario” and that the current top priority is still the two countries working together. at the time. His Swedish counterpart Tobias Billstrom said on the same day that he was “in contact with the Finnish side to determine what they mean”.
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