Helsinki has not yet promised to lift an arms embargo against Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Finland on Monday to publicly declare an end to its ban on arms transfers to his country. Otherwise, Ankara will not support Helsinki’s NATO membership bid.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a visit by Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen to Turkey on Thursday, Cavusoglu said the minister’s trip would be “important” in Finland’s efforts to join the US-led military alliance.
“There has not yet been a statement from Finland that they have lifted the arms embargo against us,” he said, according to Reuters. “We expect such a statement.”
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in May, claiming the move was prompted by Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. With membership dependent on the consent of all 30 NATO member states, Türkiye has sought to impose conditions on the two Nordic aspirants before signing their applications.
Both countries were asked to extradite Kurdish terror suspects and some supporters of the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, to crack down on the funding of related groups and to lift an arms embargo on Türkiye imposed by both counties in 2019 following Ankara’s operation against the Kurds. militants in Syria.
Finland and Sweden signed an agreement in June promising to address these problems. Türkiye, however, claims that progress has been slow. Sweden lifted its arms embargo in September and extradited a Kurdish man previously convicted in Türkiye of membership in a terrorist group. Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag called the latter move “a good start,” but said Stockholm must go through with extraditing “all the terrorists that Turkey wants.”
Russia has spoken out about the two Nordic countries’ Nato bids, saying that expanding the bloc would not make the European continent more stable or secure, and while Moscow noted that it “doesn’t have a problem” with Stockholm or Helsinki, it has vowed to adapt. its military posture in its northern region if the alliance adds two new members.