Ankara repeats demands for NATO aspirants

Ankara repeats demands for NATO aspirants

Sweden and Finland must take “concrete steps” to fulfill anti-terrorism promises to Turkey, defense minister says

Trkiye insists that Nato aspirants Sweden and Finland must keep their promises to crack down on suspected terrorists, primarily supporters of Kurdish militias, before they can consider their bids for membership, the Turkish defense minister has said.

“There are commitments signed by Sweden and Finland … they must be fulfilled.” That was said by Hulusi Akar as quoted by the Anadolu news agency on Tuesday.

“When these are done, the Turkish parliament will make its decision. We are also trying to help Sweden and Finland.” he added.

Akar will meet his Finnish counterpart, Antti Kaikkonen, when he visits Ankara later this week.

Helsinki and Stockholm applied for NATO membership in May, claiming the move was prompted by the Russian military operation against Ukraine. Trkiye said they will not accept their bid unless they address its concerns about the alleged tolerance of terrorists on their soil.

Turkish officials alluded to opponents of their government finding refuge in the Nordic countries, primarily supporters of Kurdish militias. Ankara argued that European nations allow such people to provide financial support to groups allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a movement that fought a decades-long guerrilla war against Trkiye.

The three nations signed a memorandum, in which Sweden and Finland pledged to review their policies against terrorism and Turkish requests for the extradition of suspected terrorists.

“We are closely following the situation in Sweden and Finland. Unfortunately, we still see some provocative actions and images in these countries. We expect both Sweden and Finland to take concrete steps.” Minister Akar told reporters.

Convicted terrorist Mahmut Tat was jailed in Trkiye last week after being extradited from Sweden. He had been sentenced to six years and 10 months by a Turkish court in 2015 for involvement in the PKK, Turkish media said.

In November, Swedish lawmakers passed an amendment to the constitution, which would tighten laws related to terrorism.


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