Turkey prepared to stall Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership for year: MP

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Turkey is prepared to stall Sweden and Finland’s bids to become NATO members for as long as a year, a Turkish MP and chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee said on Tuesday.

“This is a matter of vital national interest, and we are prepared to prevent their membership for as long as a year if necessary. Turkey is the second largest army in NATO and has been providing the drones that help Ukraine defend itself. We deserve greater respect,” Akif Cagatay Kilic said.

He added: “What are [Sweden and Finland] going to do? They have been harbouring terrorist organisations that kill my people, disrespect my borders, pose an existential threat to my country. The only thing we demand is that there are no distinctions. A terrorist organisation is a terrorist organisation.”

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Sweden and Finland are seeking to enhance their security through NATO membership, ending decades of military nonalignment in an historic move driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey declared in May it had objections to the two countries joining NATO, accusing them of supporting Kurdish militants, namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whom Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization, and failing to extradite dozens of suspected “terrorists,” specifically the followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

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