ANKARA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — Turkey’s foreign minister reiterated Thursday that his country may evaluate Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO separately.
“We could evaluate Finland’s NATO membership process separately from Sweden,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
“Türkiye’s position on the membership of the two countries has been clear and unequivocal from the beginning,” he added.
Stoltenberg, asked if the two countries’ NATO accession must happen simultaneously, said “the main issue is not that they are ratified together. The main issue is that they are ratified as soon as possible.”
Finland and Sweden submitted their formal applications for membership in May 2022. Türkiye, which is the only member that has yet to ratify, is demanding that the two countries “quickly and thoroughly” extradite terror suspects believed to be Turkish.
Cavusoglu said earlier that NATO and the two Nordic countries initially requested that their membership process be carried out together. Since then, Finland has taken some steps, but there were “provocations” in Sweden, he added.
At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Türkiye may show a different attitude to Finland’s NATO bid than Sweden, if necessary.