Politics, World

Türkiye calls on Sweden, Finland to change laws amid NATO bid

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says there are certain conditions that both countries must fulfill.

Merve Aydogan   | 31.05.2022
Türkiye calls on Sweden, Finland to change laws amid NATO bid

ANKARA

Amid Sweden and Finland's NATO bids, Türkiye on Tuesday emphasized that these two countries need to make amendments to their counter-terrorism laws.

Speaking at Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk at the agency's headquarters in the capital Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there are certain conditions that both countries must fulfill.

"Prior to the Ukraine war, we have always supported NATO's expansion at all foreign ministers' meetings. Similarly, we supported this policy in the case of countries such as (North) Macedonia and Montenegro, but now we are abstaining due to support given to terrorism by the two countries that want to become members of NATO," he said.

He added that Türkiye maintains a dialogue with Sweden and Finland in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's directives.

Citing a consultation meeting held between the delegations of Türkiye, Sweden and Finland, Cavusoglu said that Ankara handed a letter clearly stating its expectations from the two countries aiming to join the military alliance.

"Even at a time when consultations (between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland) are ongoing, these terror groups are demonstrating against Türkiye with their rags. These activities of the terror organization, which is on the (terror) lists of the EU and NATO, are allowed. On the other hand, FETO (Fetullah Terrorist Organization) is active in these countries," he added.

Cavusoglu also recalled Sweden and Finland's sanctions on arms exports and defense industry products to Türkiye, which were imposed after Ankara launched operations against YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria.
Sweden and Finland need to understand Türkiye's security concerns, Cavusoglu stressed.

Emphasizing that these two countries need to make amendments to their counter-terrorism laws, he stressed that Türkiye's position will not change unless amendments are made.

"We have given the documents in written form (to Sweden and Finland). Governments may change, and other governments may later come and say, 'We did not know about this'. After becoming a member, their attitudes may change. That's why we gave everything in written form. We want it in written form," he said.

Adding that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg frequently voices the need to meet Türkiye's security concerns, Cavusoglu further said that the alliance head offered a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers with the participation of NATO.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO recently – a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is PKK's Syrian offshoot.

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