Turkey pushes back vote on Sweden and Finland’s Nato accession | Nato

Turkey pushes back vote on Sweden and Finland’s Nato accession | Nato

Turkey is unlikely to vote on the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO before key domestic elections expected in May or June this year, according to a senior Turkish official.

“We are not in a rush here, they are in a rush to join NATO,” Ibrahim Kalın, a top adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told reporters.

“Given the fact that the president will have to send this draft law to the parliament to ratify it, the legislators will have to obey. To be honest with you, we’re not going to be able to get this through parliament like that.

“We don’t have the numbers, the opposition will ask all kinds of questions and we can’t risk our political capital as we go to the polls in the next three or four months,” he said.

A key general election in Turkey is expected before June, in which Erdogan is expected to face a coalition of six opposition parties at the ballot box, seeking to challenge his campaign to extend his rule into a third decade.

Only Turkey and Hungary, two countries that have maintained ties with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have stalled on the parliamentary votes needed to approve the accession of Finland and Sweden, although Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said late last year that Hungary’s parliament would vote. on the move in February. The next NATO summit is expected to take place in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, in July.

Ankara has been under increasing pressure from Swedish and Finnish officials, as well as NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, to approve the accession since the three countries signed a tripartite memorandum during a NATO summit in Madrid last June. . The two Nordic countries agreed to address security concerns raised by Turkey, namely the presence of Kurdish organizations in Sweden that Ankara claims are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey, the EU and Washington have designated as a terrorist group.

Both Nordic countries lifted restrictions on arms exports to Ankara, and Sweden amended its constitution to toughen domestic anti-terrorism laws.

Meanwhile, Turkey has demanded that Sweden extradite a list of people it claims are linked to either the PKK or banned cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding a 2016 coup attempt, including a journalist whose extradition was recently blocked by a Swede. court.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told an internal security conference earlier this month that Stockholm would not be able to meet all of Turkey’s demands. “Turkey confirms that we have done what we said we would do. But they also say they want things we can’t and won’t give them. So the decision is now with Turkey”, he said.

Kalın disagreed. “In principle, of course, we would like to see them in NATO provided they meet the conditions we agreed,” he said.

“Finland and Sweden have fulfilled their commitment to Turkey,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference last November, after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. “It is time to welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of NATO.”

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