ANKARA, March 20. /TASS/. Ankara may approve Sweden’s application for NATO membership in time for the alliance’s summit in Vilnius in July, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.
"Last Friday, I spoke with the Swedish foreign minister. I told him about the decision on Finland, so that he learned about it from us first. <…> He expressed hope that the NATO accession process would be completed by the alliance’s summit, to which I replied, ‘It all depends on you,’" Cavusoglu said.
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022 but their bids were blocked by Turkey, which demanded that the Nordic countries declare Kurdish organizations as terroristic as well as extradite individuals accused of terrorism or having participated in the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.
Ankara believes that Helsinki is generally in compliance with the terms of the relevant memorandum, whereas Stockholm has given the Turkish side grounds for significant grievances. Turkey insists that Sweden is not yet ready to become a NATO member, since it has failed to fulfill its commitments under the memorandum.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Friday that Ankara was ready to ratify Finland’s application for NATO membership. The relevant protocol has been submitted to the Turkish parliament for review. Finland’s bid is expected to be approved this week.