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Turkey postpones NATO meeting with Sweden and Finland

Turkey postpones NATO meeting with Sweden and Finland

Turkey postpones NATO meeting with Sweden and Finland

Turkey postpones NATO meeting with Sweden and Finland

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  • Swedish-Turkish relations have recently been strained.
  • Turkey has postponed a new round of talks.
  • Swedish far-right leader’s burned the Holy book Quran over the weekend.
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Turkey Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Turkey has postponed a new round of talks with Sweden and Finland on the Nordic neighbors’ NATO membership bids indefinitely.

The meeting in Brussels has been postponed at Ankara’s request, according to the state broadcaster on Tuesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is also expected to attend the upcoming talks.

Turkey’s decision came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden that he would not support its bid to join the Western US-led defense alliance in the aftermath of a Swedish far-right leader’s burning of the Quran over the weekend.

Bids to join NATO must be ratified by all members of the alliance, of which Turkey is a member.

Swedish-Turkish relations have recently been strained, and Ankara has been outraged by the burning of the Quran outside its embassy in Stockholm.

Despite Turkey’s strong objections, the Swedish authorities approved the protest.

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Elections in Turkey

Erdogan’s remarks and Tuesday’s postponement reduce Sweden and Finland’s chances of joining the bloc before Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections in May.

Finland hinted for the first time on Tuesday that it might consider joining NATO without Sweden due to Stockholm’s diplomatic problems with Ankara.

The Biden administration reiterated on Tuesday its support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO as soon as possible.

After Turkey’s president said Sweden should not expect his country’s support, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing that he would not consider Finland’s possible accession without Sweden.

Previous rounds of trilateral NATO talks were attended by foreign ministry officials and focused on a specific list of Turkish demands, including the expulsion of dozens of mostly Kurdish suspects.

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Only Turkey and Hungary have not ratified the Nordic neighbors’ historic decision to break their tradition of military non-alignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised that the two bids will be approved by his parliament next month.

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