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Turkey plans to validate Finland’s NATO candidacy before elections: sources

Turkey’s parliament will “very likely” ratify Finland’s proposed NATO membership before May elections, two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday, a day before Finnish President Sauli Niinisto’s visit to the country.

Finland’s proposal will pass independently of Sweden, which applied for the Western military alliance at the same time as its Nordic neighbor after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, a senior official said.

Turkey has repeatedly said Sweden needs to take additional action against supporters of Kurdish militants and members of the network Ankara blames for an attempted coup in 2016. The Asian country treats both groups as terrorist organisations.

Negotiations between Sweden and Turkey have made little headway, especially after several turmoils, most notably over street protests by pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm.

Amid rising tensions with Sweden, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signaled for the first time in January that Ankara could give Helsinki the green light ahead of Stockholm.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Tuesday that Finland’s likelihood of joining NATO before Sweden had increased, following talks between the three sides in Brussels this week.

“We are looking favorably at Finland joining. It would not be wrong to say that accession negotiations will be held at a different time than in Sweden,” said a senior Turkish official.

Another source with knowledge of the matter said that Finland’s approach to terrorist organizations was in keeping with Turkey’s sensitivities and that Helsinki had taken steps in that regard.

“It is very likely that the necessary step for Finland’s NATO membership will be completed before the closure (of Parliament) and the holding of elections,” the source said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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