Later this month: NATO candidates talk to Turkey

The government in Ankara has long stood in the way of Sweden's and Finland's NATO ambitions and sets conditions.

Later this month: NATO candidates talk to Turkey

The government in Ankara has long stood in the way of Sweden's and Finland's NATO ambitions and sets conditions. Their fulfillment should be discussed at a first meeting. The northern European countries agree to examine extradition requests.

Against the background of Turkey's demands on the NATO accession candidates Finland and Sweden, representatives of the three countries will meet in Finland later this month for talks. This was announced by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Although he did not name a date, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had previously announced that the meeting would take place on August 26.

After the Russian attack on Ukraine, Sweden and Finland broke with their decades-long tradition of military alliance neutrality and applied for NATO membership in May. The process of joining the alliance has started. However, each of the 30 member countries must ratify accession.

Turkey was the only NATO country to have threatened a veto. Turkey has accused Sweden and Finland of harboring dozens of terrorist suspects from Turkey and is demanding their extradition. These are mainly members of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the movement of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

In an agreement signed by Sweden and Finland at a NATO summit in Madrid in late June, the two countries pledged to "swiftly and thoroughly" examine Turkish extradition requests. At the meeting this month, talks on the deal should continue, Haavisto said. In the future, meetings of representatives of the three countries should take place alternately in Finland, Sweden and Turkey, explained the foreign minister.

Last week, Sweden announced the first extradition of a Turkish citizen since the deal. However, Turkey's Justice Ministry said the extradition fell far short of Stockholm's commitments under the deal.

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