Following Sweden, Finland delegation to visit Turkey to discuss NATO bid

Finnish officials are set to arrive in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss their country’s bid to join the NATO alliance, Time Turk reported on Saturday.

A Finland Justice Ministry delegation will meet the head of foreign relations at the Turkish Ministry of Justice, Kasim Cicek, it said, with talks focusing on the extradition of individuals Turkey designates as terrorists.

Ankara had threatened to block Finland and Sweden’s membership in the 30-member defense alliance, accusing Stockholm and, to a lesser extent, Helsinki of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement, both of which the Turkish government designates as terrorist organizations.

The two Nordic countries need Turkey’s approval to join the alliance, which operates by consensus.

Ankara has urged the countries to restrict actions of groups that it deems a threat to its national security and to extradite dozens of people over their alleged links to these groups as a precondition to its approval of their NATO bids.

Earlier this week, the prime minister of Sweden said that was ready to head to Turkey to call on Ankara to back his country and Finland's NATO membership bids, Euronews Turkish reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had also agreed to meet with Ulf Kristersson.

Ankara has also called on the Nordic countries to lift an arms embargo imposed following a 2018 military offensive into Syria targeting Kurdish forces. Sweden lifted the ban last month.

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