In an anticipated move on Tuesday, Turkey announced that it has indefinitely postponed any future talks with Finland and Sweden regarding the countries' bids to join the military alliance.
Turkish state media TRT reported that a significant meeting that was expected to occur in February in Brussels has been canceled, according to diplomatic sources.
The cancelation comes after it was thought that Finland and Sweden were close to receiving approval for their respective NATO accessions. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary General was expected to attend the talks as well before Turkey suddenly canceled the talks.
Tensions have been running high between Turkey and the two countries, as Turkish President Recep Erdogan has continuously attempted to block their accession into NATO, claiming that the countries are too supportive of Kurdish terrorists and going so far as to demand that Sweden change some of its laws regarding Kurds; a demand that is seen among many in Sweden as an attack on the country's free speech laws. Earlier this month, Sweden announced that it cannot meet all of Turkey's demands.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Erdogan blasted Swedish authorities for permitting an activist to burn a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy over the weekend in Stockholm.
Reiterating his initial claim that Sweden supports "terrorists," Erdogan blatantly told Sweden to no longer expect support from Turkey in its bid to join the alliance. It was an announcement that many have seen coming as Turkey has long expressed discontent with both countries for their failure to crack down on Kurdish groups, which have been labeled as "terrorists" and banned by Turkey.
As a result of the cancelation of talks due to Erdogan's dissatisfaction, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has called for a diplomatic "time-out" to reassess the situation. Finland has considered obtaining NATO membership without Sweden, as the two Nordic countries have been attempting a joint membership process with great resistance from Turkey.
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