Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine conflict in late February…reports Asian Lite News
The Turkish foreign minister on Thursday 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),” Mevlut 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 Russia-Ukraine conflict in late February. However, their accession bid was initially blocked by Türkiye, which accused the two countries of supporting anti-Türkiye terrorist organizations 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 Türkiye’s concerns at the NATO summit in Madrid, in which Finland and Sweden pledged to support Türkiye’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 Türkiye, 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 the parliaments of all NATO members to ratify their accession to NATO.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in July that Türkiye 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.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States 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 U.S.-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.
US Lauds NATO
US President Joe Biden underlined the strength of NATO as Finland and Sweden join the alliance, amid altered security architecture in the West following Russia’s continued war against Ukraine.
“Our alliance is closer than ever. It is more united than ever. And when Finland and Sweden bring the number of allies the 32 will be stronger than ever stronger than that,” Biden said on Tuesday as the US ratified instruments for the Nordic countries’ accession.
Large majorities of Democrats and Republicans voted in favour of enlarging NATO, reports dpa news agency. Washington said the US is the 23rd of the 30 NATO member states to approve the accession.
“In a moment when Putin’s Russia has shattered peace and security in Europe, when autocrats are challenging the very foundations of a rule based order, the strength of the Transatlantic Alliance, and America’s commitment to NATO is more important than has ever been,” Biden said. He urged the other allies to complete their own ratification processes as soon as possible.
Finland and Sweden both put aside decades of neutrality to join NATO following Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour in February. Before the accession protocols can enter into force, they must be ratified by the 30 NATO member states. It remains unclear whether Turkey will do so, as the only member to block the accession process.