Unless Madrid deal implemented, Turkey to block Sweden NATO bid: FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey will hold NATO bid talks with Sweden and Finland in March.
Turkey said on Monday that NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland would be held next month, after being postponed in January over a row about protests held in Stockholm.
"The meeting will be held on March 9," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara, alongside his Hungarian counterpart.
After the start of the Ukraine war, Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and applied to join the US-led military alliance.
Turkey and Hungary remain the only members of the 30-nation alliance that have not ratified the two bids by votes in parliament.
All 30 states must approve a new country's membership. The Hungarian legislature is expected to approve both bids by March.
Cavusoglu said the third planned meeting would be held in Brussels. The previous two rounds of the tri-party NATO talks were attended by foreign ministry officials and focused on a specific list of Turkish demands, which include the extradition of dozens of mostly Kurdish suspects.
"It's not possible for us to give consent (to a NATO bid) before Sweden fulfills its commitments" under a three-party protocol signed in Madrid in June, the top Turkish diplomat considered.
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp
He also made it clear that Turkey looked warmly on Finland's bid, saying, "We may separate Sweden and Finland's membership process."
Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan's main complaint has been with Sweden's refusal to extradite dozens of suspects that Ankara links to Kurdish groups and a 2016 coup attempt.
Rallies attacking the Turkish leadership in Stockholm and the burning of the holy Quran further deepened the rift and raised tensions between Turkey and Sweden.
Despite Turkey's objections to its neighbor's membership bid, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said last week that Finland still wants to join NATO with Sweden.
But on February 7, high-level sources revealed that all Finnish parties, bar one, are prepared for their country to access NATO without Sweden.
Read more: US to persuade Turkey to vote for Finland and Sweden joining NATO