ANKARA, November 24. /TASS/. Turkey will approve the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO when it sees them making a real effort to combat terrorism, which is in compliance with the memorandum that the countries signed in June, Omer Celik, a spokesman for the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party, said on Thursday.
"We've seen a lot of Western allies who don't keep their word [to fight terrorism]. Turkey will approve the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO when it sees real steps - and considers them sufficient - they are taking to combat terror. We support NATO expansion," he told reporters.
Sweden and Finland in May applied to join the North Atlantic alliance, but Turkey blocked the applications, demanding that they designate some Kurdish organizations as terrorist groups, and extradite people that Turkey accused of terrorism or participation in the coup attempt of 2016. On June 28, before the start of the NATO summit in Madrid, negotiations were held between Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinistц, then-Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. A memorandum was signed allowing Stockholm and Helsinki to join NATO.
Ankara has previously stated that the memorandum signed with Finland and Sweden is not final, and the Turkish parliament may not approve it if the two countries don’t comply with their obligations to counter terrorist organizations. Turkey, for example, regards the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the FETO organization as terrorist groups.