TURKEY PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Monday that his country could still block Sweden’s accession to NATO if Stockholm fails to meet the conditions Ankara set out when it lifted its veto last month.
“We see that Sweden has especially not been living up to its promises,” Erdoğan told a news conference in Ankara. “I repeat it again, we will freeze their NATO accession process if the conditions are not met.”
Turkey has accused Stockholm and Helsinki of supporting Kurdish organizations that it regards as terrorists and said it would not lift its veto on their accession to NATO until they met Turkey’s demands.
The three states signed a trilateral memorandum ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid last month in which the Nordic countries agreed to address Ankara’s concerns, including on the fight against terrorism and weapon sales.
In the agreement, the Nordic governments promised energetic measures against the PKK, the Kurdish armed group that has battled a succession of Turkish governments for decades, and to conclude extradition agreements with Turkey.
Erdoğan claimed that Sweden had committed to extraditing 73 terror suspects to Turkey.
Sweden is home to a Kurdish expatriate population of somewhere between 70,000 to 150,000 people, according to various estimates.
“As Turkey, our stance is clear. The rest is up to them,” Erdoğan said.
All 30 existing NATO members must approve Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the alliance.
The Nordic nations applied for membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, bucking decades of traditional neutrality.