New obstacle standing in Skopje's NATO path is - Turkey

Turkey is reportedly threatening to delay the ratification of North Macedonia's NATO accession protocol, Ekathimerini newspaper is reporting.

Source: Tanjug
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(Getty Images, file, illustration)
(Getty Images, file, illustration)

This will happen unless Skopje extradites 15 Turkish nationals Ankara accuses of taking part in a failed coup in 2016, the article said, citing Balkan Insight.

They are suspected of belonging to a network run by Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says masterminded the coup attempt.

The issue was also raised by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar during his visit to Skopje on April 3, who, during a recent visit to Kosovo, "made extradition requests for other Turkish nationals also accused of being Gulenists."

These reports also state that North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev refused Turkey's demands, and received backing for this from EU officials, "who also called on the government in Skopje to uphold the human rights of the 15 men."

However "North Macedonia’s Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said during a recent television interview that, apart from other members of the North Atlantic alliance, her country also needs Turkey for the ratification of its NATO accession protocol."

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