Turkey urges Sweden, Finland to fulfil NATO accession commitments

International |  IANS  | Published : Fri, Aug 12, 2022, 01:49 PM

Ankara, Aug 12 (IANS) Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged Finland and Sweden to take "concrete steps" about their commitments that should be fulfilled before their accession to the NATO.

"They have not yet fulfilled their commitments made in the documents (to join NATO)," Cavusoglu told the annual Ambassadors' Conference, which was held in the capital Ankara to discuss the Turkish foreign policy.

Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after the outbreak of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on February 24.

However, their accession bid was initially blocked by Turkey, which accused the two countries of supporting terrorist organisations after they refused Ankara's extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.

The three countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on June 28 that addressed Turkey's concerns at the NATO summit in Madrid, in which Finland and Sweden pledged to support Ankara's fight against terrorism and agreed to address its "pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly".

Member states of NATO, including Turkey, signed accession protocols for Sweden and Finland in early July, starting the procedure to admit the two Nordic countries into the military alliance.

The next step is for Parliaments of all NATO members to ratify their accession to NATO.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in July that his country would suspend Finland and Sweden's NATO accession process if they failed to keep promises on counter-terrorism.

"We want to learn why the necessary steps are not taken. There is no time pressure for us. Of course we have time pressure for the issue on terror, but eventually they are the countries that want to become NATO members," Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

The Gulen movement is led by and named after the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who is regarded by his followers as a spiritual leader.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the 2016 failed coup in which at least 250 people were killed.

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