Despite the breakthrough that appeared after a meeting of officials from the three countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Saturday his threat that Turkey will not ratify the request for membership of Sweden and Finland in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “until the promises” made by the two countries are fulfilled.
“First Promise Fulfillment”
“As long as the promises made to our country are not fulfilled, we will maintain our principled position,” he told the Turkish parliament, noting that since May he has threatened to block the two countries’ accession to NATO.
Officials from Turkey, Finland and Sweden agreed last August to continue talks in the coming months to discuss security concerns raised by Ankara as a precondition for allowing the Nordic countries to join NATO.
Officials from the three countries held this first meeting of its kind, on August 26 in the southern Finnish city of Vantaa.
Meanwhile, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said – at the time – that the meeting aimed to establish contacts and define cooperation goals agreed upon by the three countries, when they signed a memorandum of understanding at the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June.
It is noteworthy that Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine, but Turkey opposed this and accused them of imposing an arms embargo on it and supporting groups it considers terrorist, in reference to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and other opponents.
Ankara had asked the two countries to extradite suspects wanted in terrorism-related cases, while the two countries say that they did not agree to extradite specific people when they signed the memorandum of understanding.