Sweden must take “concrete steps” in the fight against terrorism, only then can we talk about the ratification of the NATO membership treaty, Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said. According to Bloomberg, this will not happen before 2023.

According to Hurriyet, the ratification of the NATO membership for Sweden and Finland by Turkey depends on the Stockholm’s actions in the fight against terrorism, so far the measures taken are not enough, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The latter pointed out that Sweden has changed its anti-terrorism legislation and continues to extradite members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization, to Turkey. “They are ready to work with Turkey. Their membership will make us stronger,” Stoltenberg said, pointing out that the countries assure that they stick to their commitments. “The time has come to accept Finland and Sweden as full members of NATO,” he added. “In these dangerous times, it has become even more important to complete their admission [to the alliance] so that there is no misunderstanding or miscalculation in Moscow,” the NATO secretary general said.

“There are steps that need to be taken not only for invitation, but for full membership. Some steps have been taken. <…> It is not enough just to lift the arms embargo, it must be permanent. <…> Our goal is for both countries to take important steps in the fight against terrorism,” Çavuşoğlu said in response.

He noted that Turkey has no complaints against Finland’s bid, but “the importance is attached to the joint membership of the two countries.”

Bloomberg wrote, citing officials familiar with the matter, that Turkey is unlikely to ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s bids before the end of the year and possibly before next year’s presidential elections.

According to the sources, the Turkish government does not plan to seek parliamentary ratification of Sweden’s membership unless it meets existing requirements to fight Kurdish separatists, extradite suspects and completely lift restrictions on arms sales to Ankara.

Turkey and Hungary are the last of the 30 NATO members that have not yet agreed to join the new members Sweden and Finland. Nevertheless, Budapest may do so by the end of the year, Bloomberg notes.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May this year. Turkey previously opposed the membership of both countries, accusing them of complicity in terrorism. The disagreement with the Finnish side was then settled. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin urged Turkey to approve the Swedish bid sooner. Both countries noted that they intended to become members of the bloc at the same time.

President Vladimir Putin, commenting on the intentions of Sweden and Finland, said that their accession to NATO does not pose a “direct threat” to Russia, but warned that “the expansion of military infrastructure in this region” would cause a response from Moscow.

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