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Turkey plans to resume talks with Sweden and Finland on the two Nordic countries joining NATO in March. The meeting will take place in Brussels on March 9, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ankara on Monday. However, it is “not possible” for Turkey to agree to Sweden joining NATO until the country fulfills the commitments jointly agreed in Madrid in June, he added.
Cavusoglu made it clear that Turkey looks favorably on Finland’s NATO bid. “We could separate the accession process of Sweden and Finland,” he said. In May last year, Finland and Sweden gave up their decades-long military non-alignment following the Russian attack on Ukraine and applied to join NATO. The approval of all member states is required for the admission of new members to the military alliance.
Turkey is blocking Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, partly because of the two countries’ alleged support for Kurdish activists. Ankara is demanding a tougher stance against these activists, who are considered “terrorists” by the Turkish authorities, especially from Stockholm.
At the end of January, Turkey stopped negotiations altogether and canceled a meeting planned for February after anti-Turkey and Islamophobic actions took place in Stockholm, during which a copy of the Koran was burned. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then said that Turkey would not support Sweden’s entry into the western defense alliance.