Erdogan again threatens to ‘freeze’ membership of Sweden and Finland

with AFP


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again threatened on Monday to “freeze” Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO, on the eve of a tripartite summit with Russia and Iran in Tehran.

During the NATO summit at the end of June in Madrid, Mr. Erdogan had summoned the two Nordic countries to “take their part” in the fight against terrorism, of which he accuses the Kurdish organizations in northern Syria, under penalty of return to the Atlantic Alliance enlargement agreement. “We have adopted an extremely clear attitude for the continuation of NATO enlargement (…) I want to remind you once again that we will freeze the process if these countries do not take the necessary measures to meet our conditions”, declared Mr. Erdogan in front of the press at the end of a meeting of his government.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are three major players in the war that has ravaged Syria since 2011

“We particularly notice that Sweden does not reflect well on this subject,” he accused. Mr. Erdogan is due to embark on Monday evening for Tehran where he will meet on Tuesday with Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, from whom he hopes to obtain the green light for an armed intervention in northwestern Syria.

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Ankara has been threatening since the end of May to launch a new operation to create a 30-kilometre “security zone” along its border. Tehran and Moscow have already declared their opposition to such an offensive. Russia, Turkey and Iran are three major players in the war that has ravaged Syria since 2011, with Moscow and Tehran supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Ankara supporting rebels.

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