Finland state

Turkish official media: talks will be held on Finland’s NATO candidacy

ISTANBUL (AP) — Finnish officials will arrive in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss their country’s bid for NATO membership, Turkey’s official news agency reported on Saturday.

A delegation from the Finnish Ministry of Justice will meet Kasim Cicek, head of external relations at the Turkish Ministry of Justice, Anadolu Agency reported. The talks will focus on the extradition of individuals whom Turkey considers to be terrorists, the report added.

Finland and its neighbor Sweden applied to join the defense alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, abandoning longstanding policies of military non-alignment. Becoming a member of NATO requires the unanimous support of all current members, including Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he had also agreed to meet Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Ankara.

Turkey has threatened to block the process unless Finland and Sweden meet its demands. In particular, Ankara wants them to crack down on people they consider terrorists, such as supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and members of a group that allegedly orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.

Turkey has also called for the arms embargo imposed following its 2018 incursion into northern Syria to fight Kurdish militants to be lifted. Sweden announced last month that it would lift the embargo, a move seen as aimed at gaining Ankara’s approval.

Only the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments have yet to ratify the accession of Finland and Sweden.