Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday renewed his threat to block the NATO bids of Sweden and Finland, saying he would not give his approval until the two Nordic countries kept promises he said were made to Ankara.
“Until the promises made to our country are upheld, we will maintain our principled position,” Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.
“We are closely following whether the promises made by Sweden and Finland are kept or not, and of course, the final decision will be up to our great parliament,” he added without elaboration.
Ankara initially said it would veto the two countries’ membership in the Western alliance, with Erdogan accusing them of providing havens for Kurdish militants operating in Turkey and for promoting what he called “terrorism.”
Following negotiations, Erdogan said he would drop his objections but indicated he could still block their membership bids if they failed to follow through on promises, some of which were undisclosed.
Membership bids must be approved by all 30 NATO members. Only Hungary and Turkey have yet to send the membership bids to their parliaments for ratification.
The historic shifts by Sweden and Finland came in the face of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in February and other aggressive moves by the Kremlin in the region.
Public opinion in the Nordic countries quickly turned in favor of NATO membership following the invasion.
Some material for this report came from Agence France-Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur.