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Terrorist Groups 'Laying Mines' on Sweden's Path to NATO Membership, Turkey Says

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NATO logo - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.02.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Terrorist organizations are blocking Sweden's path to NATO membership, with Stockholm deliberately stepping on these "mines," although the country could resolve this issue at will, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday.

"Terrorist organizations are laying mines [on Sweden's path to NATO membership]... and Sweden is deliberately stepping on them. They can clear them if they want... We will sit down, talk and keep our word after Stockholm fulfills its obligations. However, in the current situation Turkey cannon say yes to Sweden's accession to NATO," Cavusoglu said.

The minister also stated that Ankara had called off the third round of trilateral talks between Turkey, Sweden and Finland on NATO membership in response to anti-Turkish provocations in Sweden.
On Thursday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Sweden had not yet fulfilled its obligation to extradite "terrorists" to Turkey so Ankara cannot approve Stockholm's application for NATO membership. Turkey has demanded that Sweden extradite Kurds, allegedly belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara designates as terrorists. Stockholm, however, hasn't been able to meet Ankara's demands.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2023
Finns Ready for NATO Without Sweden While PM Promises 'Hand in Hand' Accession
Sweden and Finland abandoned neutrality and applied for NATO membership in May after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine. Their accession protocols have already been ratified by all NATO members except Hungary and Turkey.
The process came to a standstill in January after Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish political party Stram Kurs, burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm with permission from the Swedish authorities. Erdogan then condemned the demonstration and said Sweden should not count on Ankara's support for its NATO bid.
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