Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Saturday that Ankara could block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO if the two countries don’t fulfill a deal they signed with Turkey on joining the alliance.
Sweden and Finland have signed their ascension protocols to join NATO, which sent their prospective memberships to each alliance member’s parliamentary bodies. So far, 28 out of 30 members ratified their memberships, with only Hungary and Turkey remaining.
“Until the promises made to our country are kept, we will maintain our principled position,” Erdogan told Turkey’s parliament. “We are closely following whether the promises made by Sweden and Finland are kept or not, and of course, the final decision will be up to our great parliament.”
Erdogan’s main gripe with Sweden and Finland is their alleged support for PKK, a Kurdish militant group that Turkey, the EU, and the US consider a terrorist organization. Under the deal Sweden and Finland signed with Turkey back in June, the Nordic nations agreed to cooperate on the extradition of suspected PKK members, but so far, little progress has been made in that area.
Another aspect of the agreement was for Sweden and Finland to lift an arms embargo they placed on Turkey in 2019 in response to Erdogan’s invasion of northeast Syria. On Friday, Sweden announced that it reversed a ban on exporting military goods to Turkey in a step toward fulfilling the agreement with Ankara.