NATO: TURKEY REQUESTS FINLAND AND SWEDEN TO AMEND THEIR LAWS IF NECESSARY TO APPROVE THEIR ACCESSION
by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Anne Kauranen
ANKARA v HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland and Sweden will have to amend their laws, if necessary, to meet Turkey’s requirements and gain support for NATO membership, Turkish Foreign Minister said on Tuesday, reiterating its threat to veto a historic expansion of the Alliance.
On May 13, Turkey opposed the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO on the grounds that they harbor people linked to groups it considers terrorists, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. (PKK), and because they stopped arms exports to Turkey in 2019.
The Nordic states have asked to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and all membership must be approved by the 30 members of the Atlantic Alliance.
Mevlüt Cavusoglu said Turkey, which has been a member of NATO for seven decades, would not veto it until its demands were met, echoing recent comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara said that Sweden and Finland should stop supporting the PKK and other groups, banning them from organizing events on their territory, extraditing those wanted by Turkey for terrorism, and supporting military and counterterrorism operations. Ankara and lift the arms embargo.
“Are our demands impossible? No. We want them to stop supporting terrorism,” Mevlüt Cavusoglu told the official Anadolu news agency, adding that Ankara was aware that some of its demands would require a change in the laws.
The Nordic states have said they condemn terrorism and are open to dialogue.
Finland and Sweden have sought to negotiate a solution, and other NATO countries have said they are confident they can overcome the objections raised by Turkey, which has the Alliance’s second-largest army.
(Reporting Anne Kauranen in Helsinki and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; French version Federica Mileo, edited by Kate Entringer)