Turkey’s Erdogan signals that Finland’s NATO bid may be considered over Sweden
ANKARA, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signaled on Sunday that Ankara may agree to Finland joining NATO ahead of Sweden, amid growing tensions with Stockholm.
“We might deliver a different message to Finland (on their NATO application) and Sweden would be shocked when they see our message. But Finland should not make the same mistake as Sweden did,” Erdogan said in a televised speech broadcast on the sunday.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and need the approval of all member states to join. Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified the Nordic countries’ membership.
Turkey says Sweden, in particular, harbors what Ankara says are militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.
“We gave Sweden a list of 120 people and told them to extradite the terrorists in their country. If you don’t extradite them, then sorry for that,” Erdogan said, referring to Turkey’s agreement with Sweden and Finland last June on their NATO . Application.
Turkey suspended NATO talks with Sweden and Finland last week after a protest in Stockholm in which a far-right politician burned a copy of the Koran.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said his country wanted to restore NATO dialogue with Turkey, but Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday it was pointless to resume talks.
Cavusoglu also said there was no offer to evaluate Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership separately.
Reporting by Omer Berberoglu; Author of Huseyin Hayatsever; Editing by Ros Russell
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