Sweden will be shocked that Turkey may respond ‘differently’ to Finland’s NATO bid, said the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday.
Erdoğan spoke on a number of topics, from the presidential elections to the Nordic countries’ NATO bids at a youth meeting in Turkey’s Bilecik province.
“We may respond differently to Finland if necessary. Sweden will be shocked when we respond differently to Finland. But Finland should not make the same mistake,” Erdoğan said during the meeting.
Recalling that Ankara has handed Sweden a list of 120 people for extradition to Turkey, Erdoğan said Sweden needs to extradite these people to be allowed to enter NATO.
Erdoğan also added that Finland should not make the same mistake as Sweden, referring to a protest in Stockholm in which Kurds hung an effigy of Erdoğan by its feet from a lamp post, and another in which a far-right politician burned a copy of the Quran. Sweden had granted permission for both of the protests.
Every member of the 30-nation alliance needs to approve any bid for NATO membership, and though Sweden and Finland applied to join soon after Russia’s war on Ukraine started last year, Turkey and Hungary are the only countries not to have approved the bids of the two Nordic countries’. Hungary is expected to do so in February.
Turkey, however, has threatened to exercise its power of veto against the applications of the two countries unless they take action against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and what Turkey sees as PKK-affiliated groups, and approve the extradition of a long list of people Ankara categorises as terror suspects.