Türkİye, World

Türkiye 'satisfied with constructive approach' by Sweden, Finland

'We will work to ensure that NATO has more unity on terrorism,' says Turkish communications director

Merve Gül Aydoğan Ağlarcı   | 29.06.2022
Türkiye 'satisfied with constructive approach' by Sweden, Finland

ANKARA

Türkiye on Wednesday welcomed Sweden and Finland's "constructive approach to address" Ankara's concerns as the parties signed a memorandum following a four-way meeting in Madrid. 

"Our government will be working closely with our Finnish and Swedish counterparts to implement this agreement. We are satisfied with their constructive approach to address our concerns. We will work to ensure that NATO has more unity on terrorism," Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.

He said the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Swedish Prime Minister Magdelena Andersson, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg "achieved concrete, specific and significant results regarding our concerns over terrorism."

All parties "agreed to full cooperation against the terror organization PKK and all its extensions," Altun said, adding that "Sweden and Finland committed to stand with Türkiye against all forms of terrorism and promised not to provide support to the PYD/YPG and FETO terror groups."

He also cited the agreement on Sweden and Finland's lifting "restrictions or sanctions on our defense industry and increase cooperation in this arena," and said, "they have committed to revise counter-terrorism laws to address our concerns regarding terror activities cloaked under pseudo political activities."

Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland have also "agreed to create an intelligence sharing and cooperation mechanism against terrorism and organized crime," the Turkish official said.

As part of the agreement, all sides agreed to also take "concrete steps and creating bilateral arrangements on extradition of individuals convicted of terrorism," Altun wrote.

"Sweden and Finland agreed to ban any fundraising and recruitment activities by the PKK and its extensions as well as shell organizations. They also agreed to prevent terrorism propaganda against Türkiye."

He also announced plans to establish a "Permanent Shared Mechanism to oversee and verify the implementation of these steps with the participation of justice, intelligence, and security bureaucracies of our respective countries."

Altun said "Türkiye has always advocated for more unity within our alliance over common security issues including terrorism. We will neither create fractures within this alliance nor give up on our national security. We have always supported a stronger NATO and will continue to do so."

About Erdogan's meetings on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, Altun said the Turkish leader has already met European Council President Charles Michel, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden.

"He will continue to hold meetings with NATO leaders throughout this summit," he added.

Türkiye, Finland and Sweden on Tuesday signed a memorandum following four-way talks in Madrid. The agreement allows the two Nordic countries to become NATO members, but conditions them to take steps on Türkiye's terrorism concerns and lift an arms embargo on Ankara.

It also states that Finland and Sweden will work closely with Türkiye on issues related to exchange of information, extradition and in general the fight against terrorism.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join the alliance last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began in February.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups such as the PKK and its offshoots.

Stoltenberg has repeatedly said that Türkiye has "legitimate concerns related to their fight against the PKK terrorist group and other organizations," and that the PKK is considered a terror organization by NATO, the EU, as well as Finland and Sweden.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Türkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

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