Politics, World

Türkiye expects ‘not kind words but concrete steps’ from Sweden, Finland to address its concerns

As there is nothing more to say about Türkiye's demands, 'concrete steps must be taken from now on,' says Turkish foreign minister

Faruk Zorlu  | 20.12.2022 - Update : 21.12.2022
Türkiye expects ‘not kind words but concrete steps’ from Sweden, Finland to address its concerns


Türkiye expects "not kind words but concrete steps" to address its security concerns from NATO hopefuls Sweden and Finland, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, referring to Ankara's desire for the extradition of accused criminals.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Gambian counterpart Mamadou Tangara, Cavusoglu said as there is nothing more to say about Türkiye's demands, "concrete steps must be taken from now on," referring to the extradition of accused criminals, the freezing of terror assets, and ending terrorist activities.

"From the day the membership for Finland and Sweden was brought to the agenda, whatever has to be said has been said so far," he said, adding also we signed the Tripartite Memorandum in June with Sweden and Finland for NATO membership.

"Ultimately, everyone should fulfill their obligations according to this document," he said, adding Türkiye's demands are "very explicit" in that regard.

Sweden refusing to extradite an accused terrorist – Bulent Kenes – to Türkiye is a "very negative development," said Cavusoglu.

"In this document, not only the terrorist organizations of YPG/PKK/PYD/YPG but also the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) are stipulated very explicitly," he said, adding so these coup plotters "must be extradited to Türkiye."

The important thing here is to meet the Türkiye's expectations, he said.
On Thursday, he will discuss the latest developments in this regard with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom during his visit to Ankara, he said.

Sweden's top court on Monday rejected Türkiye's request for the extradition of Kenes, a fugitive terrorist group suspect living on Swedish soil, saying that as he had not been sentenced to a year or more in prison, he was not eligible for extradition.

Kenes, the former editor-in-chief of Today's Zaman newspaper and a suspected member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), lives in Sweden.

In the defeated 2016 coup orchestrated by FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen, 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden signed a memorandum this June on the Nordic countries' bids for NATO membership. The memorandum requires Finland and Sweden to take steps on Türkiye's terrorism concerns, including the extradition of terror suspects, and to lift an arms embargo.

In return, Türkiye would allow the Nordic countries to become NATO members.

However, Ankara has accused Finland and Sweden of not complying with the deal, as both nations have so far failed to extradite wanted terrorists sought by Ankara.

Bilateral relations between Türkiye and Gambia

Touching upon the two countries' relations, Cavusoglu said: "We have very special relations with Gambia, Gambia is one of our strategic partners in the region."

The trade volume between the two countries is not reflecting the real potential, he said, adding although the trade volume between the countries increased to $70 million, that "does not satisfy us."

We would like to increase the reciprocal investments and the trade, he added, saying we also continue to extend "our humanitarian support and aid to the region."

We have been cooperating and collaborating quite closely with Gambia in our fight against terrorist organizations and the brotherly country of Gambia has given us the first positive response for closing FETO's schools, he said.

They will be the term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he said, adding the OIC summit will be held in Gambia and we really want this summit to be "successful."

Meanwhile, for his part, Mamadou Tangara said Türkiye supported the training for law enforcement officers in Gambia. The primary condition for development is security.

Ankara played a very active role in the formation and training of Gambia Special Forces, the Gambia Armed Forces, and Gambia Gendarmerie Forces, he noted.

Türkiye and Gambia have signed a total of 23 bilateral agreements so far, he said, adding this is an "indication of how lively relations are."

Also, praising Türkiye's support for Gambia to hold the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, he said they aim to hold the summit in Gambia next year.

The summit was postponed due to the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the floods in Gambia, he said.

Also, foreign ministers of the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of international cooperation.

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