Monday March 20, 2023

Finland, Sweden fail to get Turkey´s timetable for NATO ratification

Published : 10 Mar 2023, 04:15

Updated : 10 Mar 2023, 04:33

  DF Report
Trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey was held on Thursday in Brussels. Photo: NATO.

The trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey held on Thursday in Brussels failed to find out any significant progress regarding ratification of NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden.

Finland and Sweden did not get any specific timetable for the ratification process from Turkey at the meeting held at NATO Headquarters in presence of Secretary General of the military alliance Jens Stoltenberg, local media reported, quoting meeting sources.

The countries, however, agreed that the next meeting would take place before the Vilnius Summit later this spring and that cooperation would continue also after the accession process of Finland and Sweden has been completed, said the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release.

NATO Secretary General convened the third meeting of the Permanent Joint Mechanism established by the Trilateral Memorandum signed the three countries in Madrid on the margins of the 2022 NATO Summit, said NATO in a press release.

“Finland and Sweden have taken unprecedented steps to address legitimate Turkish security concerns. It is now time for all Allies to conclude the ratification process and welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of the Alliance ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius,” Stoltenberg said in his inaugural remarks at the meeting.

The representatives of Turkey, Finland, and Sweden discussed the concrete steps that have been taken to implement the Trilateral Memorandum, said the NATO press release.

As agreed in the Memorandum, there are no arms export restrictions between them; they have significantly enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation; and Sweden is now in the process of tightening anti-terrorism legislation, including against the PKK.

All participants welcomed the progress that has been made.

The parties agreed that the decision to invite Finland and Sweden to become NATO members was historic. They further agreed that rapid ratifications for both Finland and Sweden would be in everyone’s interest, and that their membership will strengthen the Alliance.

In January this year Turkey postponed trilateral meeting with Finland, Sweden on their NATO bids following the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 1 said, Turkey will not approve Sweden's bid to join NATO as long as it continues to allow Quran-burning protests, adding his country looks positively on Finland's application for membership.

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 ratified the membership protocols 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.

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.