Monday March 20, 2023
Turkey sees Finland's NATO bid positively but Sweden's bid negatively
Published : 01 Feb 2023, 20:27
Updated : 01 Feb 2023, 20:38
Turkey will not approve Sweden's bid to join NATO as long as it continues to allow Quran-burning protests, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, adding his country looks positively on Finland's application for membership of the military bloc, reported Xinhua.
"Sweden! Don't even bother to try. We cannot say 'yes' to your joining NATO as long as you continue to allow burning and tearing of my sacred book, the Quran," Erdogan told the parliament.
"Our view on Finland is positive, but not for Sweden," he added.
Ankara's backlash against Stockholm's NATO bid comes after the latter's permission for recent protests involving Quran burning in the Nordic country, as well as the issue of extradition of people affiliated with anti-Turkish groups.
The Swedish police allowed a protest in which a far-right politician burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm in January.
Sweden and Finland submitted their formal requests to join NATO in May 2022, which were initially opposed by Turkey, a NATO member, citing their support for anti-Turkish Kurdish organizations and political dissidents.
The Turkish parliament has not ratified the Nordic countries' NATO bids so far, citing that they have yet to meet Turkish requests.
Turkey is demanding concrete Finnish and Swedish actions to address Turkish security concerns over extraditing hostile groups members before it unblocks their accession into NATO.
Another country Hungary did not ratify the membership yet, although Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on November 2 assured President Sauli Niinistö that his country will ratify Finland´s NATO accession protocol.
Finland and Sweden submitted the NATO membership applications in May.
Their accession procedure officially started in early July after 30 NATO members, including Turkey signed accession protocols.
So far 28 countries out of total 30 ratified the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden.
The countries are USA, Italy, Canada, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, United Kingdom, Albania, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Montenegro, Belgium, North Macedonia, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain Portugal and Slovakia ratified the membership protocols.
In late June, the Foreign Ministers of Finland, Sweden and Turkey signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Turkey will support the Finland´s and Sweden´s NATO membership applications.