Turkey, Sweden, Finland hold three-way talks for NATO bid

Turkey, Sweden, Finland hold three-way talks for NATO bid

Turkey, Sweden, Finland hold three-way talks for NATO bid

Turkey has called on Sweden and Finland to give concrete assurances in their fight against terrorism, particularly the PKK and its Syrian offshoot YPG, if they want to join NATO. The message was delivered to the Nordic states at a three-way meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara on May 25.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın, and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal hosted the Swedish delegation headed by state secretary Oscar Stenstrom and the Finnish delegation headed by Foreign Ministry undersecretary Jukka Salovaara.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. NATO allies, except for Turkey, have welcomed their appeal. Turkey, however, citing their ties with the PKK and other anti-Turkey terror groups, objected to their entry into the alliance.

The Swedish and Finnish delegations came to Ankara to assure Turkey, but Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu insisted that the assurances should be in a written form and binding. He also signaled further talks with the two Scandinavian states with the participation of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkey, this week, listed five “concrete assurances” it is demanding from Sweden, including what it said was “termination of political support for terrorism,” “elimination of the source of terrorism financing,” and the “cessation of arms support” to the banned PKK and the YPG - the Syrian offshoot of PKK. The demands also called for lifting the arms sanctions against Turkey and global cooperation against terrorism. Turkey also calls on both nations to cease the presence of FETÖ members in their territories.

Turkey had not greenlighted the two countries’ bid to join the alliance at a meeting in Brussels last week. Sweden and Finland hope to get the necessary approval from 30 allied nations at a leaders’ level NATO Summit to be held in Madrid on June 29 and 30. The expansion of NATO with these two Nordic states should also get consent from the parliaments of all 30 countries. NATO and prominent Western allies plan to accomplish the process as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Sweden is not funding or arming terrorist organizations. “We are not sending money to terrorist organizations, of course, nor any weapons,” Andersson told a Stockholm press conference. Both Swedish and Finnish leaders held separate talks with Erdoğan to overcome the difficulties in front of their joining the alliance.