Finland, Sweden hold talks with Turkey over NATO bids
Finland’s foreign minister said at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos that a delegation from his country and Sweden will travel to the Turkish capital amid pushback from Turkey on the Nordic nations’ application to join NATO.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on May 24 during a geopolitical outlook panel that the representatives will head to Turkey on Wednesday for talks.
Turkey also points to their arms exports restrictions against it.
Haavisto says he understands Turkey has “security concerns" regarding terrorism and that Finland has “good answers for those because we are also part of the fight against the terrorism. So, we think that this issue can be settled."
Turkey demands written assurances for Finland, Sweden NATO bids: FM
Turkey demands “written assurances” on Finland and Sweden’s pledge “to end support to the terror groups” as the two Nordic countries sent delegations to try to convince Ankara of their NATO bid.
“The delegation is coming today. Tomorrow there will be a tripartite meeting. Our expectation is to end support for terrorism and to lift defense restrictions. They said, ‘We can take concrete steps.’ We want a written agreement,” Çavuşoğlu told a group of journalists on board the plane after he departed for Palestine.
Ankara has prepared a “draft agreement” that will be the basis of the discussions, the minister said. Turkey wants “guarantees” that can be made in an official, signed agreement, not “wishes,” he said.
Sweden and Finland send delegations to Ankara in late May 24, hoping to clear up differences with Turkey, which opposes their applications to join NATO.
The Foreign Ministry said Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal will meet Finnish and Swedish officials on May 25. The Swedish and Finnish delegations will be headed by Oscar Stenström, the state Secretary from the Prime Ministry’s Office of Sweden and Jukka Salovaara, the permanent state secretary of Finland, the statement said.
“When we see the problems coming, of course, we take this diplomatically. We are sending our delegations to visit Ankara from both Sweden and Finland. This will happen tomorrow,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Sweden and Finland applied to join the trans-Atlantic alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We think that NATO is a group of 30 democratic countries with common values and very strong trans-Atlantic cooperation, and this is what we are looking for at this moment,” Haavisto added.
NATO member Turkey has long accused Nordic countries, in particular Sweden, of harboring the illegal PKK group as well as supporters of FETÖ.
“We understand that Turkey has some of their own security concerns, such as terrorism,” Haavisto said.
“We think that we have good answers for those because we are also part of the fight against terrorists. So, we think that this issue can be settled,” he added.
“There might be also some issues that are not linked directly to Finland or Sweden more to other NATO members or so forth, but I’m sure that in a good spirit, NATO can solve this issue,” he said.
Several European countries, including Sweden and Finland, restricted arms exports to Turkey following the country’s cross-border operation into northeast Syria in 2019, and Turkey asks for lifting these bans.
Both Helsinki and Stockholm have failed to agree to Ankara’s requests for the extradition of 33 members of the PKK and FETÖ, the Turkish Justice Ministry said earlier.
Turkey’s approval of Finland and Sweden’s application to join the Western military alliance is crucial because NATO makes decisions by consensus. Each of its 30 member countries has the power to veto a membership bid. Turkey is the only ally to have clearly voiced its opposition.