Turkish FM reiterates objection to Sweden's NATO membership
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that talks with Sweden and Finland regarding their NATO membership bids would resume on 9 March, after being suspended in January in the wake of a Koran-burning protest in Stockholm.
Turkey earlier cancelled a trilateral mechanism with Sweden and Finland on their applications to join NATO after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, burned a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm in January.
"My colleagues will attend the meeting that will be held on 9 March," Cavusoglu told a joint press conference in Ankara after a meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, adding that the meeting would be held in Brussels.
But he said Sweden was still not fulfilling its obligations under the memorandum signed at a NATO summit in Madrid last June.
"Unfortunately, we have not seen satisfactory steps from Sweden on the implementation of the Madrid memorandum," Cavusoglu said. "It is not possible for us to say 'yes' to Sweden's NATO bid before we see these steps."
He added that the NATO bids of the two Nordic countries can be assessed separately, as Ankara is more positive towards Finland's process.
Ankara accuses Stockholm of harboring "terrorists" and says it will give green light to Sweden's accession to NATO on condition that it cracks down harder on Kurdish political activists allegedly affiliated with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and extradites them, stops supporting Kurdish militia in Northern Syria, and lifts arms embargoes imposed on Turkey upon its occupation of parts of Syria in 2019.