US State Dept. is ‘carefully’ monitoring situation after Zelensky announces plans to suspend officials

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday renewed his threat to “freeze the process” of NATO membership for Sweden and Finland after conditionally agreeing to green light their bid following negotiations with the Nordic countries and NATO members in late June. 

“We shared our conditional approval with the member states for the start of the NATO membership process of Sweden and Finland. I would like to remind you once again that we will freeze the process if they do not take the necessary steps to fulfill our conditions,” Erdoğan said Monday after a cabinet meeting. 

“We see that Sweden does not give a good picture in this regard,” he added, without explaining his comments. 

Turkey said in late June that it signed a trilateral memorandum with Finland and Sweden supporting their NATO membership bids, which require ratification from all 30 members states’ parliaments and legislatures. 

Following the signing of the memorandum — which covered several outstanding issues between Turkey, Finland and Sweden — the two Nordic countries made the historic decision to formally apply for NATO membership, ending decades of neutrality.

Ankara said Helsinki and Stockholm agreed to not provide support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, also known as YPG, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization, according to the Turkish Presidency.

The Turkish statement said Finland and Sweden also confirmed the separatist militant Kurdistan’s Workers Party, also known as PKK, which Turkey, the US and EU consider a terrorist organization, is a “proscribed terrorist organization” and commit to prevent activities “of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions.” 

Istanbul also said the three countries agreed on not having national arms embargoes between them and would commit to establishing an intelligence sharing mechanism for counter-terrorism and to combat organized crime.

Erdoğan had said Sweden promised to extradite 73 people to Turkey because of the memorandum, which stipulates that Sweden and Finland will address Turkey’s pending extradition requests of terror suspects in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition.

July 19, 2022 at 05:09AM

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