19 August 2022,   12:14
Erdoğan warns Turkey could still block Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO

Just two days after agreeing to lift deal-breaking objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession, Turkey’s president has warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries fail to fully meet his expectations, writes The Guardian.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the close of the alliance’s summit in Madrid that the 10-article agreement with the Nordic pair was a victory for Ankara and addressed all its “sensitivities”.

He particularly stressed the satisfying of Turkey’s demand for Sweden and Finland to extradite terror suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

But Erdoğan added that if the two Nordic countries renege on their promises, Turkey’s parliament could refuse to ratify the deal reached on Tuesday. NATO accession must be formally approved by all 30 member states, which gives each a blocking right.

“This business will not work if we don’t pass this in our parliament. First, Sweden and Finland must fulfil their duties and those are already in the text … But if they don’t fulfil these, then of course there is no way we would send it to our parliament”, - Erdoğan said.

He claimed that Sweden had promised to extradite 73 “terrorists” to Turkey and crack down on the financing and recruitment activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) - listed as a terrorist group by the US and the EU - and linked groups. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units an extension of the PKK.