Bloomberg: Turkey may approve Finland’s membership in NATO by March, Sweden’s status is unclear
Turkey may approve Finland’s accession to NATO by March, while Sweden may not be affected by this decision, Bloomberg reports, citing informed sources.
Finland and Sweden, against the background of the events in Ukraine last May, submitted applications to the NATO Secretary General to join the alliance. At first, Turkey blocked the process of considering these applications, but on June 29, Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a memorandum in the field of security, which takes into account all Ankara’s concerns. At the moment, Sweden and Finland’s applications to NATO have not been ratified by only two out of 30 countries – Hungary and Turkey.
According to sources, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is close to declaring that the steps Finland has taken on security issues are sufficient to ratify the country’s membership in NATO.
“A statement on this may be made before the Turkish parliament goes on vacation in mid-March before the elections scheduled for May,” the sources said.
It is noted that this reflects Erdogan’s support for NATO expansion, but “Sweden’s status remains unclear.”
On Thursday, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Sweden has not yet fulfilled its obligations to extradite terrorists to Turkey, in this regard, Ankara cannot approve an application for membership in NATO.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom recently said that against the background of the actions with the burning of the Koran, the process of the kingdom’s accession to NATO has been suspended, but expressed hope that agreements with Ankara will be reached at the summit of the alliance’s Foreign Ministries in Vilnius in July. A source in Ankara told RIA Novosti that the trilateral mechanism for the process of Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO has been suspended indefinitely at the request of the Turkish side.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto allowed the continuation of the ratification procedure of the country’s application to the North Atlantic Alliance separately from Sweden, but then took his words back. In turn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey had not received a proposal from Finland for a separate application from Sweden to join NATO.