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Turkey says Sweden, Finland failed to fulfill NATO bid obligations

Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that a trilateral meeting took place in Helsinki earlier, focusing on the practical implementation of the terms of the memorandum signed in June by Turkey, Finland and Sweden

ANKARA, November 8. /TASS/. Sweden and Finland have not fulfilled all their obligations to Ankara that they agreed on in their bid to join NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday, adding that the next meeting on these agreements will be critically important.

"Both countries have taken certain steps, but at the current stage it is difficult to say that they have fulfilled their obligations. The steps are insufficient," he said, according to the Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak.

Cavusoglu noted that a trilateral meeting took place in Helsinki earlier, focusing on the practical implementation of the terms of the memorandum signed in June by Turkey, Finland and Sweden. The memorandum envisioned a series of steps that would allow the two countries to accommodate Ankara's demands and join the alliance.

"Now, this type of meeting will take place in Stockholm. It will be a critically important meeting from the standpoint of carrying out concrete future steps. The memorandum will be discussed there, along with what has been done, and what has yet to be done. A report will be prepared and a repeat assessment will be carried out," Cavusoglu promised.

On Tuesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is scheduled to arrive in Ankara to discuss the prospects of Turkey ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership application. Earlier, Kristersson said that Stockholm would not cooperate with organizations that are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist organization. Sweden has also lifted restrictions on the export of military equipment to Turkey, introduced in 2019.

On May 18, Sweden and Finland filed applications to join NATO, but the process was immediately blocked by Turkey, who demanded that these two Nordic countries brand Kurdish organizations as terrorist entities, and extradite those charged with terrorism or implicated in the 2016 coup plot, in addition to removing restrictions on weapons exports.

On June 28, in the run-up to the NATO summit in Madrid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, then-Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held talks that resulted in a memorandum that would make it possible for Stockholm and Helsinki to join NATO. According to the Turkish leader, Sweden promised to extradite over 70 people involved in terrorist activities.

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