Turkey now has the real veto card against Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, FM Cavusoglu says

Turkey now has the real veto card against Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, FM Cavusoglu says
Update: 05 July 2022 01:15
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Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said Ankara would not approve Sweden and Finland’s joining NATO if they do not comply with last week’s trilateral memorandum signed in Madrid, Spain.

Turkey now holding the real veto card in its hands against Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

The two Scandinavian countries have to comply with last week’s trilateral memorandum, and if they do not, “we will not let them into the alliance, " Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkish broadcaster NTV on Monday.

Last week, Turkey dropped its veto for Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the transatlantic alliance. In the tripartite agreement signed by Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Spanish capital Madrid, Sweden and Finland extended full support against threats to Turkey’s national security. 

Agreeing to lift arms embargoes on Turkey - introduced in 2018 for Ankara’s military operations in northern Syria, the two NATO candidates also confirmed to address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects.

This trilateral memorandum is a binding agreement which is the beginning of the process, but the important part would be the following steps, Cavusoglu told NTV.

Sweden and Finland will not be able to join NATO should the current member countries’ parliaments do not approve their membership, Cavusoglu said. “This is the binding part,” he stated. 

If the two countries fully fulfil their commitments, then Turkish parliament would approve their membership, Turkish foreign minister added.

“This is the real veto card,” he said.

Sweden and Finland officially applied for joining NATO on May 18, following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, objected their membership bids, citing the two countries’ alleged support for terrorism.