Ankara asks Finland to end arms embargo: FM

Ankara asks Finland to end arms embargo: FM

Ankara asks Finland to end arms embargo: FM

Ankara has called on Finland to end its arms embargo on Türkiye as part of its commitments to enter NATO ahead of Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen’s official trip to the Turkish capital.

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen will be hosted by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in the Turkish capital on Dec. 8. During Kaikkonen’s official visit to Ankara, the two ministers will discuss regional and global security issues, bilateral relations as well as Finland’s bid to join NATO with Sweden.

In a clear message to Helsinki before the visit, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said “We expect Finland to announce that it ends its arms embargo against Türkiye. They have not done so,” at a press conference with visiting Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Dec. 5.

Speaking to reporters about the visit, Akar reiterated Türkiye’s compliance with NATO’s open-door policy that envisages enlargement with the countries that can contribute to the alliance’s collective security. But he said Türkiye was expecting that its sensitivities should be respected by NATO and those who want to join it.

“NATO is a security organization. One of its biggest struggles is against terrorism. Terror is a serious problem for all the countries. And Türkiye is a country that is fighting against multiple terror organizations. This must be seen and awareness on what we are doing should be increased,” he said.

Recalling that Türkiye, Sweden and Finland signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding about the two Nordic states’ joining the alliance during NATO’s Madrid Summit in late June, the Turkish minister stressed.

The protocol stipulates Sweden and Finland to cooperate with Türkiye in its fight against terror organizations, ban the activities of these organizations and extradite the terrorists.

“The memorandum is clear. There are commitments made by Sweden and Finland. We demand the implementation of these commitments. TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] will decide afterwards. On this, we want to help Finland and Sweden,” he suggested.

Ankara is closely following what Helsinki and Stockholm are doing in regard to this protocol but there are still provocative acts by the terror organizations in these countries, Akar recalled, “We are expecting concrete measures both from Finland and Sweden.”

Çavuşoğlu admitted that the new government in Sweden has taken important steps in regard to fighting terrorism but stressed more should be done in terms of extraditing terrorists and freezing their assets.

“We welcomed the extradition of this terrorist. But this person was not on our list. We for sure welcome this but we demand the extradition of those who are on the list we have given to Sweden,” he said.

Sweden and Finland had applied to join NATO after the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Twenty-eight NATO allies out of 30 have already ratified their accession to the alliance. Hungary is expected to pledge a parliamentary approval in early 2023. Türkiye has not yet given a date for the ratification. Sweden has recently extradited a PKK terrorist to Türkiye. Ankara welcomed the move but asked for more to be done.

Türkiye, Azerbaijan conduct joint drill

In the meantime, Akar paid a visit to Baku to attend a joint drill between the Turkish and Azerbaijani army in the latter’s territories. Accompanied with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and land, air and navy forces commanders, Akar met his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov and was received by President Ilham Aliyev.

“We have always stood with our Azerbaijani brothers in their just cause and we will continue to do so,” Akar said on Twitter.

Turkey, Diplomacy,