Türkiye won't ratify Sweden's NATO bid unless conditions fulfilled: Ankara

Türkiye won
# 31 January 2023 17:10 (UTC +04:00)

Türkiye will not ratify Sweden's bid for NATO membership unless it fulfills obligations under the tripartite memorandum, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

"If one day Sweden fulfills its obligations, then we will sit down and see. But at the moment, it is not possible for us to say yes to Sweden's NATO bid under these conditions," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint news conference with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto in Budapest.

Türkiye postponed the next tripartite meeting slated for February in Brussels with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bids, Cavusoglu said, because everything should be "transparent."

On Friday, far-right Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, in front of a mosque in Denmark.

The Islamophobic act came days after Paludan burned a copy of Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden during a police-approved protest.

Szijjarto also criticized the attack on the Quran, saying: "As a Christian, as a devout Catholic Christian, burning and insulting the holy book of another faith is in no way acceptable."

He added: "I am sorry but calling the burning of the holy book of another faith freedom of speech is nonsense."

Paludan also announced that he would burn a copy of the Muslim holy book every Friday until Sweden is included in the NATO alliance.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022.

Under a memorandum signed last June between Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland, the two Nordic countries pledged to take steps against terrorists to gain membership in the NATO alliance.

In the agreement, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terrorist groups such as the PKK and its offshoots, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and extradite terror suspects to Türkiye, among other things.

Unanimous agreement from all NATO members – including Türkiye, a member for more than 70 years, is needed for any new members to be admitted to the alliance.

Türkiye says the countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more, especially in the wake of a provocative terrorist demonstrations and burning of copies of the holy Quran in Stockholm.

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