Turkey Raises Fresh Objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO Bids

BRUSSELS — Hopes that Turkey would ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership any time soon faded, as the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was in the midst of a tough battle. for re-election.

Turkey will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-May, and opinion polls show Erdogan and his Islamic Justice and Development party are struggling, largely because economic recession and high inflation.

Faced with domestic challenges ahead of the vote, Mr. Erdogan raised fresh objections to Sweden and Finland’s attempts to become NATO members, suggesting he could delay the process further. This process follows the initial threat of stopping them. Sweden and Finland confirmed that they will maintain the route together.

Sweden, which has traditionally been open to refugees from Kurdistan, is a particular target of Erdogan’s demands, given Turkey’s struggle against Kurdish separatism, in particular is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. also by Washington.

Mr. Erdogan has fewer problems with Finland, although he has requested – and received – some tougher anti-terrorism laws in both Sweden and Finland. But he raised doubts about Turkey’s willingness to accept Sweden’s NATO application after a far-right Swedish politician burned a Quran at a small protest near the Ambassador. Turkish bar in Stockholm on January 21. The politician, Rasmus Paludan, is suspected of having “certain connections in his vicinity” to Russia, The Finnish Foreign Minister said, Pekka Haavisto, on Saturday.

Considered a provocation, but legal under Swedish law, the burning of the Quran has caused outrage in the Muslim world and is seen by Mr. Sweden’s membership in NATO. His government canceled tripartite talks with officials from both countries and suggested that Finland could get Turkey’s approval if it splits its application from Sweden.

That premise has been rejected by Finnish leaders, including influential president Sauli Niinisto, who is credited with organizing the joint bid, given that both formerly non-aligned nations depend on What is their security plan?

Mr Niinisto told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on Sunday: “It doesn’t help to heed comments that include words like ‘maybe’ and conditions, adding that “we follow the plan of the me.”

He said Finland and Sweden would stick together, telling Yle, Finland’s national broadcaster, on Thursday that if nothing happens after the Turkish elections in May, then “we will have to talk directly” with Mr.

Haavisto emphasized that policy at a press conference in Helsinki on Monday, saying: “Our strong desire remains to join NATO with Sweden.”

The hope in NATO is that Turkey will vote to allow both Sweden and Finland to join the alliance at its next summit, in Lithuania in mid-July.

Johanna Lemola contribution report.


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