Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Finland, Sweden to send teams to Turkey to discuss NATO bids

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Finland and Sweden will send delegations to Ankara to try to resolve Turkish opposition to their applications for membership of the NATO military alliance.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forumin Davos that delegations from Sweden and Finland will arrive Ankara on Wednesday.

He said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has objected to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, held phone calls with the leaders of the two Nordic countries on Saturday and discussed his concerns.

Turkey says Sweden and Finland harbour people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

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“We understand that Turkey has some of their own security concerns vis a vis terrorism.

“We think that these issues can be settled and there might be also some issues that are not linked directly to Finland and Sweden but more to other NATO members,” Haavisto said.

Erdogan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that Ankara expected concrete steps to address its concerns, according to the Turkish presidency.

He added that the arms exports embargo imposed on Turkey after its Syria incursion in 2019 should be lifted.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto also said that he had “open and direct” talks on the phone with Erdogan.

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“I stated that as NATO allies Finland and Turkey will commit to each other’s security and our relationship will thus grow stronger,” Niinisto tweeted after the call.

Erdogan told the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, that Ankara would not look positively on Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids unless they clearly show cooperation in the fight against terrorism and other issues.

Reuters/NAN

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