Minister of National Defense: Sweden and Finland did not fulfill their NATO membership obligations
ANKARA, 17 January – RIA Novosti. Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said that Turkey sees that Sweden and Finland do not fulfill their obligations towards Ankara regarding NATO membership.
Earlier in Stockholm, a series of derogatory statements and gestures were made against incumbent Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at a rally of PKK supporters that was banned in Turkey. An RIA Novosti source reported that the Swedish ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and protested about the action. Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop canceled his Swedish colleague’s planned visit to Ankara. The lawyer of the President of Turkey applied to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the action and a criminal case was opened. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said the PKK’s action risked complicating Ankara’s approval process for Sweden’s application to join NATO.
“We see that Sweden and Finland have not fulfilled their obligations under the memorandum. We expect concrete steps to be taken to stop support to terrorist organizations and lift export restrictions. Especially the fight against terrorism is a subject closely followed by the Turkish public. “It is a disgusting act by supporters of a terrorist organization against the President of a NATO member country,” he said.
He urged Sweden to “act immediately”.
Minister, “It is not possible for us to remain silent. We follow the developments there closely.”
On May 18, 2022, Finland and Sweden, against the background of events in Ukraine, applied to the NATO Secretary General to join the alliance. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara could not say ‘yes’ to Finland and Sweden’s membership in the alliance because he could not believe its assurances regarding its relations with representatives of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which was banned in Turkey. Later, after the results of the negotiations with the Turkish side, the representatives of Sweden and Finland stated that the countries would cooperate with Ankara in the fight against terrorism and promised not to support the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey. Turkey withdrew its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but Erdogan later said Turkey would not consider in parliament the approval of Sweden and Finland’s NATO applications if they did not meet their obligations.
To date, only two of the 30 countries – Hungary and Turkey – have not approved the applications of Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Alliance.
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