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Erdogan freezes Sweden and Finland’s NATO bid ‘until promises are kept’

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On June 28, the two Nordic countries signed a trilateral memorandum with Turkey in which they undertake to address Ankara’s concerns about their position towards the PKK and Gülen movements.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, June 30, 2022 (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, June 30, 2022 (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey would continue to freeze Sweden and Finland’s NATO candidacies until the promises made by the two Nordic countries are “fulfilled”.

“Until the promises made to our country are fulfilled, we will maintain our principled position,” Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.

What were the promises?

On June 28, the two Nordic countries signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Turkey in which they undertake to address Ankara’s concerns about their position towards the PKK, the YPG and the Gülen movements.

In the memorandum, the two Nordic countries had agreed to lift their arms embargoes on Turkey, which had been imposed in response to Ankara’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

Erdogan’s office said in late June that Finland and Sweden had agreed to drop “the embargo in the area of ​​Turkey’s military-industrial complex”, adding that the two countries had agreed to amend their national legislation ” in the field of counter-terrorism and the fight against terrorism”. the defense industry.”

They will also ban “fundraising and recruitment activities” for Kurdish activists and “prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey”, Erdogan’s office said.

According to Ankara, Turkey “confirms its long-standing support for NATO’s openness policy and agrees to support at the 2022 Madrid summit the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become NATO members “.

The statement mentions that Finland and Sweden have also agreed to cooperate with Turkey on the deportation and extradition of “terror suspects”.

Read more: Turkey says it ‘supports’ Syria in expelling terrorists from region

On July 21, Turkey announced the creation of a “standing committee” to meet with Finnish and Swedish officials in August and consider whether the two countries meet Ankara’s conditions to ratify their aspirations for NATO membership. .

On August 26, the Turkish Presidency said on August 26 that officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland have agreed to intensify efforts for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.

During the meeting, the two countries reiterated their commitment to cooperate with Turkey in its fight against the PKK, the YPG and the Gülen movement.

Read more: The Kremlin questions the stability aspect of the Turkish operation in Syria

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