Turkey may respond ‘differently’ to Finland’s NATO bid: Prez

Ankara : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey may respond “differently” to Finland’s NATO bid in a way that would “shock” Sweden, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“We may respond differently to Finland if necessary. Sweden would be shocked when we respond differently to Finland. But Finland should not make the same mistake,” Erdogan said at a meeting in the northwestern province of Bilecik on Sunday.

Turkey submitted a list of 120 “terrorists” to Sweden for extradition, the Turkish President said, adding that the Nordic country must extradite these people in order to join the NATO.

It is the first time that Erdogan indicated that Ankara could evaluate ratifying Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership with a different approach, according to the report.

Turkey has postponed a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bids slated to take place in February following the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden, Xinhua news agency reported.

Sweden and Finland submitted their formal requests to join NATO in May 2022, which were initially objected by Turkey, a NATO member, citing their support for anti-Turkish Kurdish organisations and political dissidents.

A month later, Turkey, Sweden, and Finland reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) ahead of the NATO summit held in Madrid, Spain.

In the MoU, Ankara agreed to lift its veto on the NATO bids by Finland and Sweden, which in return pledged to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and address its “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly”.

The Turkish parliament has not ratified the Nordic countries’ NATO bids so far, citing that they have yet to meet Turkey’s requests. — IANS

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