Turkey’s Erdogan will ‘keep promise’ in approving Finland’s Nato bid
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Ankara will approve Finland’s bid to join NATO after months of negotiations.
“Whatever the process is, we will run that process. We will do our part. We will keep our promise,” Erdogan told journalists at the Grand National Assembly in Ankara, the state agency, Anadolu, reported.
According to Bloomberg, Erdogan asked Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to meet him personally to give his approval to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Niinisto is to travel to Ankara on Thursday.
“I have said the invitation,” said Niinisto. “It was known that once Turkish President Erdogan has made his decision to confirm Finland’s NATO membership, he will want to meet and fulfill the promise he made from one president to another.”
Erdogan’s statement is the clearest sign yet that Turkey will accept Helsinki’s offer to join the defense pact.
Finland and Sweden both applied last year to join NATO, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but all 30 member states must approve their bids.
Hungary delayed its ratification vote, while Turkey’s main complaint was Sweden’s refusal to extradite dozens of people Ankara suspects of links to outlawed Kurdish fighters and a failed 2016 coup attempt .
Both Sweden and Finland signed a trilateral memorandum in which they pledged to ease Ankara’s concerns about the recruitment, financing and activities of “terrorist organizations” such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long war against the government of Turkey. over Kurdish rights. Turkey, the EU, and the US have designated the PKK as a terrorist group because of its attacks on civilian targets.
According to Reuters, a senior Turkish official said the Finnish bid would be approved independently of the Swedish bid.
Waiting until Turkish elections
In January, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto suggested that Turkey would likely hold off on securing NATO membership for Sweden and Finland until after Turkey’s presidential elections in May.
Sweden: The Quran burning incident is hate speech, not free speech
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Haavisto said during a news conference that he believed there was a need for a pause in talks between the two Nordic countries and Turkey, following the outrage of a double Quran by a far-right activist outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Erdogan said on January 23 that Sweden should not expect his country’s support for NATO membership, after the incident.
“Those who allow such blasphemy in front of our embassy can no longer expect our support for their NATO membership,” Erdogan said in a speech in January.
“If you love and protect members of terrorist organizations and enemies of Islam, we encourage you to seek their support for the security of your countries.”