Erdogan freezes Sweden, Finland NATO bid 'till promises are met'
On June 28, the two Nordic countries signed a trilateral memorandum with Turkey in which they pledge to address Ankara’s concerns over their stance toward the PKK and Gulen movements.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey will continue to freeze Sweden and Finland's bids for NATO membership until the promises made by the two Nordic countries are "kept".
"Until the promises made to our country are kept, we will maintain our principled position," Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.
What were the promises?
On June 28, the two Nordic countries signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Turkey in which they pledge to address Ankara’s concerns over their stance toward the PKK, YPG, and the Gulen movements.
In the memorandum, the two Nordic countries had agreed to lift their embargoes on weapons deliveries to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara's 2019 military incursion into Syria.
Erdogan's office said in late June that Finland and Sweden agreed to abandon "the embargo in the field of the military-industrial complex" of Turkey, adding that the two countries agreed to amend their national legislation "in the field of counter-terrorism and the defense industry."
They will also ban "fundraising and recruitment activities" for the Kurdish militants and "prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey," Erdogan's office said.
According to Ankara, Turkey "confirms its long-standing support for NATO’s open-door policy, and agrees to support at the 2022 Madrid Summit the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO."
The statement mentioned that Finland and Sweden also agreed to cooperate with Turkey on the deportation and extradition of "terrorism suspects".
On July 21, Turkey announced the establishment of a "permanent committee" to meet with Finnish and Swedish officials in August and review whether the two countries are meeting Ankara's conditions for ratifying their NATO membership aspirations.
On August 26, the Turkish presidency in a statement on August 26 that officials from Turkey, Sweden, and Finland have agreed to intensify efforts for Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO.
During the meeting, both countries reiterated their pledge to cooperate with Turkey in its fight against the PKK, YPG, and the Gulen movement.