ANKARA, January 24. /TASS/. Talks between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki on Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO scheduled for February have been postponed, an informed diplomatic source in Ankara told TASS on Tuesday.
"The talks with Sweden and Finland within the framework of the trilateral mechanism on them joining NATO that were scheduled for February have been postponed," the source said.
Earlier, the Sabah newspaper reported that the trilateral talks had been suspended indefinitely. Additionally, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto also made an assumption that the negotiations of Sweden and Finland with Turkey on their NATO membership would be suspended for several weeks.
On January 21, Danish politician Rasmus Paludan who leads the anti-Islamic far-right extremist Stram Kurs party burned the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy. In his speech, he criticized NATO, Turkey and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as displayed a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. On Monday, Erdogan said that Sweden should not expect any support from Ankara for its NATO membership bid following anti-Turkish rallies in Stockholm. Earlier, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar made similar statements.
In May 2022, Helsinki and Stockholm submitted their applications to join the US-led military bloc but the process was blocked by Turkey who demanded that the two countries designate Kurdish organizations as terrorist groups, extradite those suspected of terrorism and being involved in the 2016 coup d’etat to Ankara, and lift bans on weapons supplies to Turkey. Talks between Erdogan, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, then Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took place in Madrid on June 28, 2022. As a result, a memorandum was signed making it possible for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
Earlier, Ankara said that this memorandum was not final and the Turkish parliament may not approve it if the two countries do not fulfill their obligations to counteract terrorist organizations.