NATO dialogue with Sweden, Finland “meaningless”: Turkey
Ankara, Jan 27 (IANS) It is “pointless” to hold a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland to discuss their NATO accession process after the recent protests in Stockholm, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
“In this environment, a trilateral meeting is meaningless. It has been postponed because the current environment will overshadow this,” Cavusoglu declared at a joint press conference with visiting Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Sweden has to decide. Do you want to join NATO or not? One of the purposes of these incidents is to prevent Sweden from joining NATO,” the Turkish minister said, referring to the recent protests in the Nordic country, which involve burning of the Koran and demonstrations by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) banned by Türkiye.
He warned that the incident was a “racist attack that has nothing to do with freedom of thought”.
Turkey has postponed a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bid planned for February after the burning of a copy of the Koran in Stockholm.
Sweden and Finland submitted their formal requests to join NATO in May 2022, which was initially protested by Türkiye, a NATO member, citing their support for anti-Turkish Kurdish organizations and political dissidents.
A month later, Turkey, Sweden and Finland reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Ankara agreed to lift its veto on NATO’s bid by Finland and Sweden, which in return pledged to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and deal with its “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects quickly and thoroughly.”
The Turkish parliament has not yet ratified the Nordic countries’ NATO bid, citing that they have not yet met Turkey’s wishes.