The Turkish Parliament will not ratify the protocol on Sweden’s and Finland’s membership in NATO without fulfilling their obligations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference after talks with his Hungarian counterpart.
“The head of the Swedish government’s Foreign Ministry came to visit us. He was in Parliament and met with parties. He heard that all parties are equally stating that without fulfilling the commitments made to us, the ratification of the protocol is impossible. That is why we cannot speak about the approval of the document in the current circumstances,” he said.
According to Çavuşoğlu, it is primarily Sweden’s bid, while the Finnish bid could be approved by Ankara.
“But NATO wants the two countries’ process to run in parallel. The two countries also hold this position. If a decision is made on the individual applications, as our president has stated, we can look positively on Finland’s application,” the minister added.
Sweden and Finland decided to join NATO last May, against the backdrop of events in Ukraine. Their applications have already been approved by 28 of the 30 countries of the alliance – except Hungary and Turkey. Ankara links the ratification of accession to the fulfillment by Stockholm and Helsinki of the obligations set out in the trilateral memorandum, which the countries signed in the summer.
In particular, Turkey demands that Sweden and Finland stop supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and extradite activists whom the Turkish authorities consider to be involved in terrorism.
In recent weeks, Ankara and Stockholm’s relations have been complicated by anti-Turkish rallies in Sweden, including the burning of the Koran. Against this backdrop, Sweden’s NATO membership process had to be put on hold. However, the Turkish authorities have no complaints against Finland. Head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry Pekka Haavisto admitted that his country could continue the procedure separately from Sweden but then took back his words. Ankara said it had not received any proposals for a separate application from Helsinki.