Turkey outlines demands as Sweden and Finland pursue NATO membership

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Sweden and Finland must stop supporting terrorist groups in their countries, provide clear security guarantees and lift export bans on Turkey if they join NATO.

After a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had met his Swedish and Finnish colleagues and they were all trying to allay Turkey’s concerns.

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He added that Turkey did not threaten anyone or seek power, but mainly spoke out about Sweden’s support for the Kurdish militant PKK group, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Finland confirmed on Sunday that it would apply for NATO membership and Sweden is expected to follow suit, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Turkey’s concerns could pose an obstacle, however, as any decision on NATO enlargement requires unanimous approval from all 30 member states.

“There must absolutely be safety guarantees here. They must stop supporting terrorist organizations,” Cavusoglu told Turkish reporters in Berlin. He added that Swedish and Finnish bans on the export of some of their defense sector goods to Turkey should be lifted.

“Our position is completely open and clear. This is not a threat, this is not a negotiation where we are trying to exploit our interests,” he said.

“This is not populism either. This is clearly about the support of two potential member states for terrorism, and our solid observations on this, this is what we shared.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan surprised NATO allies and the Scandinavian countries on Friday when he said Turkey could not support the expansion plans because they were “home to many terrorist organizations”, but his spokesman told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey did not have the door. Closed.

Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey, which joined NATO 70 years ago, is not opposed to its open-door policy.

He said talks with Swedish and Finnish counterparts were good and they made suggestions to address Ankara’s legitimate concerns that Turkey would consider. He said he had provided them with proof that terrorists were living in their country.

Cavusoglu again cited Sweden for disrespecting Turkey’s position and said PKK terrorist rallies took place in Stockholm this weekend.

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