Turkey renews veto threat on Sweden and Finland’s NATO candidacy

The head of Turkish diplomacy reiterated Ankara’s threat to block the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Mevlut Cavusoglu’s remarks come as political observers look to a possible meeting between the Turkish and US leaders next week.

“There is no concrete action taken by these two countries yet,” Cavusoglu told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency in reference to promises Stockholm and Helsinki made in return for Ankara’s support for their admission. “They know their [NATO memberships] will not be ratified by parliament unless it takes the necessary steps.

Turkey wants the two Nordic countries to restrict the actions of groups it considers a threat to its national security and extradite dozens of people over their alleged links to these groups.

Cavusoglu’s comments came ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned trip to New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly which begins on September 20. A senior official told Reuters last week that a possible meeting between the two leaders was being discussed. .

A meeting between Erdogan and President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the UNGA would boost the Turkish president’s standing at home and abroad as he prepares for one of the toughest elections of his political career. next year. A meeting could also iron out a series of outstanding issues between Ankara and Washington, including Turkey’s offer to buy new F-16s and upgrade kits from the United States.

Cavusoglu said there were “no problems at the political or technical level” in the ongoing talks, but complained about “conflicting noises” from “some members of Congress”. The sale requires congressional approval.

Speaking at the NATO summit in July, Biden said Turkey had the backing of the US administration for the sale and he was confident of congressional approval. His remarks came after Ankara agreed to a trilateral agreement with Sweden and Finland, allowing the two Nordic countries to be formally invited to NATO. In June, Al-Monitor reported that the Biden administration could abandon its efforts to win congressional approval for the sale if Turkey continued to block membership offers from Nordic countries.

The membership process requires legislative ratification by each NATO member state. Turkey’s parliament will return from a summer break on October 1 and will likely take another break shortly thereafter for the campaign period ahead of the presidential and general elections scheduled for June 2023. This will leave a short time for ratification .

“The sooner they act, the better. I must also emphasize that we are not pressed for time,” Cavusoglu said today.