ANKARA: Turkey stated during meetings in Brussels on Monday that talks between Turkey, Finland, and Sweden over the Nordic nations joining NATO will continue, and that the alliance summit in Madrid next week is not a deadline (Jun 20).
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. However, Turkey has objected to the proposals, claiming that Helsinki and Stockholm are supporting Kurdish militants and imposing arms embargoes on Ankara.
Turkey said last week that documents it received from Sweden and NATO in response to prior written demands it gave to the two contenders fell short of its expectations, and that any conversations must first address Turkish concerns.
Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Brussels with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal that Ankara expects Sweden to take urgent action in response to operations by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant organization in the nation.
He noted that any progress on the Nordic membership bids “now depends on the direction and pace with which these nations take steps.”
He described the meetings with officials from Sweden, Finland, and NATO in Brussels as taking place in an “open and sincere atmosphere.”
Onal stated that Turkey expected Sweden and Finland to adjust their positions, and that Ankara needed “binding guarantees” to resolve its concerns.
Petri Hakkarainen, the president’s foreign and security adviser and the head of Finland’s mission at the Brussels talks, said the sides had achieved “concrete progress” on several matters. However, he stated that reaching an agreement on others would take time.
On June 29-30, NATO leaders will meet in Madrid. Any NATO membership requires approval of all 30 members of the alliance. Turkey has been a NATO ally for more than 70 years and has the alliance’s second biggest army.