Turkey blocks NATO membership talks with Finland, Sweden
Turkey blocked NATO membership talks with Finland and Sweden on the same day that the Nordic countries formally submitted their applications to join the military alliance, Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Early on Wednesday Finland and Sweden submitted their formal applications to join NATO.
But Ankara has stopped any vote to decide on the membership application, the Financial Times said citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Shortly before their application, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged NATO allies to respect his concerns over the accession of both countries.
Finland and Sweden have decided to join the NATO alliance after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
“NATO's enlargement is meaningful for us to the extent that it respects our sensitivities,” Erdoğan told party lawmakers in a speech in Ankara.
A Turkish official said that Ankara had stopped the membership process of Finland and Sweden but insisted that Turkey did not want to rule out their accession to NATO, the Financial Times reported.
“We're not saying they can't be NATO members,” the official said. “Just that we need to be on the same wavelength, the same page, about the threat that we're facing.
“We want to reach an agreement. The sooner we can reach an agreement, the sooner the membership discussions can start."
Finland’s and Sweden's permanent representatives to NATO, ambassadors Klaus Korhonen and Axel Wernhoff, had handed over the membership applications at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the requests.
Stoltenberg said NATO members were determined to take decisions quickly, adding that Finland and Sweden's membership received strong support from all other allies.