Türkiye says steps by Finland, Sweden not enough

Türkiye says steps by Finland, Sweden not enough

Türkiye says steps by Finland, Sweden not enough

Türkiye welcomes the steps taken by Finland and Sweden against the illegal PKK group, but they are not enough to ratify the Nordic countries’ NATO bid, presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on March 9.

The pace of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership process depends on the steps to be taken by both countries, Kalın told reporters after a tripartite meeting of the three countries in Brussels.

“We are pleased with the steps taken by Sweden and Finland in the fight against the PKK, but it is not enough. We have stated that steps should be taken to prevent the financing and propaganda of terrorism. Our Swedish counterparts state that they will be more effective with the law. We will continue to closely follow the steps related to the fight against terrorism,” he said.

Türkiye will hold another round of talks with the two Nordic countries soon, he noted.

Kalın said that the delegation included officials from the justice, foreign, defense and interior ministries and the National Intelligence Organization.

Reminding that they had planned to hold the third meeting of the tripartite mechanism of Türkiye, Sweden and Finland some two months ago but had postponed it after the burning of the Quran in Sweden, Kalın said that they revived the meeting upon NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg’s request in his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“In principle, we support the enlargement of NATO. We are aware that NATO will play a critical role in this process. In the past, other countries had waited a long time for new members. I mean the attitude of Greece. We have expressed our concrete security concerns. At our meeting today, we agreed that the next meeting will be held soon,” the spokesperson stated.

The Nordic states pledged to support Türkiye’s fight against terrorism and agreed to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests for “terror” suspects. The mechanism aims to evaluate the implementation of the deal.

Most recently, Ankara signaled that it may consider ratifying Finland’s NATO bid before Sweden on the ground that the latter has not fulfilled its commitments.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden, decided jointly to end their decades-long policies of military non-alignment, winning formal support for their plans at a historic NATO summit in June.

On the political front, Türkiye and Hungary are two NATO allies that have not yet ratified the accession protocols of Sweden and Finland although the remaining 28 members have already fulfilled the procedures.