Finland and Sweden can’t join NATO until Turkey’s concerns are met – Ankara — Analysis
Turkey says that its demands are “concrete,” and the Nordic states must accept them in order to join the alliance
Following talks in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkish government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters that his government would not allow Finland and Sweden into the NATO alliance until Turkey’s “concrete”Security concerns about terrorism are addressed. Kalin added that Ankara will not rush to an agreement before NATO’s next meeting.
Following their last week’s joint application to NATO, the Swedish and Finnish delegations met in Ankara for five-hour talks. Turkey threatened to stop the process if the countries it regards as terrorists did not give their unanimous consent.
“Without meeting the security concerns of Turkey, any process about NATO’s expansion cannot continue,”Kalin addressed a press conference shortly after the talks. “Nato is a security organization,”He declared that it meant that the alliance must ensure that “the security concerns of member states are equally and fairly met.”
Turkey has demanded that Sweden and Finland lift arms export restrictions on Turkey, and that they extradite people linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Gulen movement (FETO). Both Sweden and Finland consider the PKK a terrorist organisation. However, Turkey also demands that the YPG, PYD and Kurdish military units and political parties in Syria be given the same classification.
Kalin stated that Turkey was pressuring Sweden to clamp down on the PKK’s domestic sympathizers, their funding and media operations. Sweden in particular has been singled out by Turkey, with Ankara accusing Stockholm of arming the Kurds with anti-tank weapons, which are used in the Kurds’ ongoing border conflict with Turkey.
Swedish and Finnish officials will now return to their capitals to discuss Turkey’s demands, which Kalin described as “concrete.”It is possible to continue the process of joining the Nordic States. “in a way that will address the security concerns of Turkey,”He stated.
NATO leaders will meet in Madrid (Spain) at the end next month. However, Kalin said that Turkey is not included. “not under time pressure”To come to an agreement with Sweden/Finland by that time.
Turkey requests concessions from NATO applicants
Sweden and Finland both invoked Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as motivating them to join the US-led NATO alliance. Their membership bids have been warmly received in Washington and by NATO’s European leaders, save for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, who has threatened to obstruct their applications unless the alliance addresses the alleged legal persecution of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Moscow has called the two countries’ NATO applications a “serious mistake with long-lasting ramifications.” Still, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated last week that Russia views the two countries’ NATO aspirations as less concerning than those of Ukraine, where potential territorial disputes “would have carried huge risks for the entire continent.”