Nordic promises must be kept for Turkey to ratify NATO deal, Erdogan says

MADRID/ANKARA, June 30 (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Finland and Sweden must first keep the promises made to Turkey in a deal to lift its veto on their NATO membership bids or ratification will not be sent to the Turkish parliament.

Speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a NATO summit, Erdogan said the two Nordic countries must complete legislative changes regarding terrorists as soon as possible.

He also said Sweden promised to extradite 73 individuals that he described as terrorists, although the memorandum of understanding did not have any explicit pledges for extradition. It only stated that the countries would address Turkey's requests.

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"The key thing is for promises to come true. In the coming period, we will monitor the enforcement of the elements in the memorandum and will take our steps accordingly," Erdogan said.

"First Sweden and Finland should carry out their duties and those are in the text...But if they don't, of course it is out of the question for the ratification to be sent to our parliament," he added.

After four hours of talks in Madrid on Tuesday, Erdogan and his Finnish and Swedish counterparts agreed on a series of security measures to allow the two Nordic countries to overcome the Turkish veto that Ankara imposed in May due to its concerns about terrorism.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

According to the signed memorandum, Finland and Sweden pledged not to support the Kurdish militant PKK and YPG groups or the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara says staged a 2016 coup attempt and which it labels a terrorist organisation with the acronym FETO.

The signed memorandum did not list any individuals for extradition.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Sweden would continue to follow local and international law in its extraditions and that the process would depend on what information was received from Turkey.

Ratification in allied parliaments is likely to take up to a year, but once it is done, Finland and Sweden will be covered by NATO's Article 5 collective defence clause, putting them under the United States' protective nuclear umbrella. read more

Turkey's Western allies designate the PKK as a terrorist group but not the YPG, which is a key element of the Kurdish-led coalition that the United States largely relied on to fight Islamic State.

The PKK launched its insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Lisa Shumaker

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