Turkey demands “concrete measures” from Sweden and Finland

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s foreign minister said Friday that Sweden and Finland must now take “concrete steps” to assuage his country’s security concerns to overcome Ankara’s objections to their bid for the membership in NATO.

Delegations from the two Nordic countries returned home with documents detailing Turkey’s concerns, such as information on terrorist groups, after a visit this week and Ankara is awaiting their responses, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week. The move represents one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine and could rewrite Europe’s security map.

The countries’ offers to join require the support of all NATO countries, but Turkey, which commands the alliance’s second-largest army, opposes it. He cited alleged support for Kurdish militants Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on arms sales to Turkey.

Cavusoglu said “an approach like ‘we will convince Turkey in time anyway, we are friends and allies’ would not be correct”. He insisted that “these countries must take concrete measures”.

He added that “we understand Finland’s and Sweden’s security concerns but…everyone must also understand Turkey’s legitimate security concerns.” Turkey was asking NATO to include the fight against terrorism in its “Strategic Concepts”, the minister said.

The head of Turkish diplomacy was speaking at a joint press conference with his Polish and Romanian counterparts in Istanbul.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said: “There is no doubt that we need Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership to strengthen it. Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu agreed, saying their membership would “consolidate collective defense and our security.”

Turkey this week listed five “concrete assurances” it demanded from Sweden, including what it called an “end of political support for terrorism”, an “elimination of the source of funding for terrorism” and the “termination of arms support” banned the PKK and a Syrian Kurdish militia affiliated with it.

The demands also called for the lifting of arms sanctions against Turkey and for global cooperation against terrorism.


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