Turkish FM says Finland, Sweden have more to do before joining NATO
Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Sweden and Finland have not yet fulfilled all obligations under a deal clearing their bids to join NATO, and they must still take concrete steps, in a joint conference with NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who argued it was time to finalize the entry process during his visit to Turkey.
In a memorandum signed by the three countries in July, Turkey consented to dropping its objection to two Nordic countries' accession as they assured that they 'will not provide support' to groups deemed terrorist by Turkey.
The memorandum also says 'Finland and Sweden will address Turkey's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly.'
Stoltenberg said It was time to welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of NATO.
"In these dangerous times it is even more important to finalize their accession, to prevent any misunderstanding or miscalculation in Moscow," he said.
Stoltenberg hailed Sweden’s efforts to pass new laws “preventing participation in terrorist organizations, including the PKK."
In response, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said Turkey was aware of the positive steps taken by both Nordic countries but there was more they could do.
"We should show our nation and the parliament that these countries have taken concrete steps to address our concerns, (...) especially concrete steps in fight against terrorism," Çavusoglu said.
“We knew that the previous government in Sweden could not take very serious steps, but we also see that the new government is more determined," Cavusoglu said.
All 30 standing NATO allies need to ratify in their parliaments any expansion of the security bloc. 28 members have already approved and Hungary is expected to give its green light in December.