Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday renewed his threat to “freeze” NATO membership for Sweden and Finland unless they stick to their pledges to crack down on terrorist groups.
“I want to reiterate once again that we will freeze the process if these countries do not take the necessary steps to fulfil our conditions,” Erdogan told reporters.
“We particularly note that Sweden does not have a good image on this issue,” the Turkish strongman continued.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Finland and Sweden set aside decades of neutrality during wartime and asked to join the 30-member alliance.
But Erdogan balked, saying the two countries were too lax in their stand against terrorists because they hosted Kurdish militants.
At June’s NATO summit in Madrid, which was attended by President Biden, the three countries reached a deal on deporting or extraditing groups considered to be security threats, including members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and lift arms restrictions imposed after Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into northern Syria.
But on Monday, Erdogan once again raised the threat of blocking their entrance into NATO unless they make good on the promises they made.
In a meeting with Erdogan at the Madrid summit, Biden praised him for overcoming his objections to Finland and Sweden joining the defensive bloc.
“I want to particularly thank you for what you did putting together the situation with regard to Finland and Sweden, and all the incredible work you’re doing to try to get the grain out of Ukraine and Russia. I mean, you’re doing a great job,” Biden told him.
NATO membership requires a unanimous vote by all 30 members.
With Post wires
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