Turkey may evaluate NATO applications of Finland, Sweden separately: FM

FILE PHOTO: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) shakes hands with visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Istanbul, Türkiye, July 29, 2022.

Turkey could evaluate Finland’s NATO bid separately from Sweden’s bid to distinguish “between a problematic country and a less problematic one,” the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday.

“If NATO and these countries take such a decision, we, as Turkey, think that we may evaluate the applications separately. But first of all, NATO and these countries have to decide,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho.

Cavusoglu emphasized that the alliance and these countries initially requested that the membership process of the two countries be carried out together.

Since then, Finland has taken some steps, but there were “provocations” in Sweden, he said.

“We’ve been saying that we have fewer problems with Finland since the two countries’ application process started. It would be fair to distinguish between a problematic country and a less problematic one,” the minister explained.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey may show a different approach to Finland’s NATO bid than Sweden.

“We may respond differently to Finland if necessary. Sweden would be shocked when we respond differently to Finland. But Finland should not make the same mistake,” Erdogan said.

Turkey submitted a list of 120 “terrorists” to Sweden for extradition, Erdogan said, adding that the Nordic country must extradite these people in order to join NATO.

Turkey has postponed a trilateral meeting with Sweden and Finland on their NATO bids slated to take place in February following the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden. ■

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