Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted at the possibility of Turkey agreeing to Finland’s accession to NATO – without at the same time accepting Sweden’s membership. “If necessary, we can give a different answer regarding Finland,” Erdogan said in a televised meeting with the youth on Sunday. “Sweden would be shocked if we gave Finland a different answer.”
This is the first time that Turkey has expressed its willingness to deal with the Finnish candidacy separately from the Swedish one. NATO member Turkey has been preventing the two countries from joining the Western military alliance for months. As a prerequisite for approving Sweden’s application to join NATO, Ankara is demanding that Stockholm take tougher measures against Kurdish activists, whom the Turkish government considers “terrorists”.
After a right-wing extremist burned a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm this week, Turkey indefinitely postponed a meeting with Sweden and Finland scheduled for early February about their planned accession.
In addition to Turkey, Hungary has not yet agreed to NATO expansion. Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that Parliament in Budapest will vote next month on whether the two Scandinavian countries will join NATO.
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