Finland urges Turkey, Hungary to expedite approval of Swedish, Finnish NATO bids
Finland’s prime minister on Tuesday urged Turkey and Hungary to quickly approve Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership in the NATO defence alliance, Reuters reported.
Turkey and Hungary are the only two NATO members which have yet to ratify the Nordic countries’ applications. In order for a country to join the alliance, unanimous approval of all 30 current members is required.
“All eyes are now on Hungary and Turkey. We are waiting for these countries to ratify our applications. I think it would be important that this happen preferably sooner than later,” Reuters cited Sanna Marin as saying in a news conference with other Nordic leaders.
In June, Turkey, Sweden and Finland's foreign ministers signed a memorandum to confirm that Turkey will back the Nordic countries’ NATO bids during a summit in Madrid, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said it would not approve their applications to join the alliance, citing their support for Kurdish organizations that Turkey considers security threats, among other concerns.
Ankara is critical of what it considers the lax approach of Sweden and Finland toward groups that Ankara deems national security threats, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian extension, as well as followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who are blamed by Turkey for a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016.
Turkey has also put forth the condition that the countries hand over of more than 70 people described by its president as terrorists.
Finland and Sweden last week announced that they would join NATO at the same time, in a united front to Turkey, which has raised questions about both their applications, Reuters reported.