Turkey Says Unlikely to Approve Sweden, Finland NATO Bids Before June

A spokesman for Erdogan says Turkey's parliament won't take the issue up before elections

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara is unlikely to approve Sweden and Finland joining NATO before June.

Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Sweden needs time before it can codify new counterterrorism measures into law, changes Ankara wants to be made before signing off on Stockholm’s NATO membership.

“It may take six months to codify them, until June,” Kalin said. Turkey’s main issue with Sweden and Finland is their alleged support for the Kurdish militant group PKK, which Ankara, the EU, and the US consider a terrorist organization.

Turkey has been demanding Sweden extradite suspected PKK members and other people over allegations they were involved in a coup, but Sweden’s supreme court has denied some extraditions.

Kalin also said it’s unlikely that Erdogan’s government likely won’t want to bring the issue to parliament before the upcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled for June but might be held a month earlier.

“Given the fact that the president will have to send this bill to the parliament to ratify it, lawmakers will have to be convinced. To be honest with you, we will not be in a position to have this passed just like that from the parliament,” Kalin said.

“We don’t have the numbers, the opposition will ask all kinds of questions, and we cannot risk our political capital as we go into elections in the next three or four months,” he added.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.