Turkey echoed concerns about Swedish and Finnish countries’ support for terrorist groups during the meeting between Turkish officials on Wednesday regarding Nordic countries’ membership bids to join NATO. According to the presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın’s statement, Turkey also made clear that their NATO bid could not progress until the security concerns are reassured.
Noting that the PKK, the YPG, and the PYD are all the same terrorist groups, Turkey conveyed its expectations on this matter to the delegations from Sweden and Finland, and Ibrahim Kalın told a news conference following the closed-door consultative meeting that lasted nearly five hours.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants . The YPG/PYD is PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
“In the reports prepared on the PYD/YPG, we explained that the organization committed war crimes. Therefore, we expressed that the reports should not be hidden to acquire the PYD/YPG,” he said.
“We stated that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps, the process will not progress. The delegations received our message. They will discuss our demands with their leaders and they will respond to us,” he added.
Turkey expects the “correct implementation” of the 1999 NATO summit principles and procedures related to the alliance membership process, Kalın also added.
He underlined that Ankara has been making extradition requests to Sweden and Finland for the last 10 years. The security concerns of the NATO members should be addressed in a “just manner,” Kalın stressed.
Kalın went on to say that NATO membership application by Sweden and Finland coincides with an important “turning point.”
“Turkey has a very serious role in NATO principles in 70 years of NATO history. NATO is a security alliance, the countries that will become members should address the member states’ security concerns.
“Therefore, the most fundamental issue of this alliance is to meet the security concerns of its members equally and justly. Turkey has made very serious contributions to this alliance. Turkey’s security concerns are related to the presence of terrorist organizations, especially in European countries, “he said.
“We expect that concrete steps should be taken towards the organizational and financial propaganda of the terrorist organizations there,” he noted.
He also emphasized that Turkey observed a “positive approach” by Finland and Sweden in discussions about lifting the sanctions on arms and defense industry products that the two countries had imposed on Turkey.
“It is unacceptable that NATO allies impose sanctions on each other,” Kalın said.
The Turkish delegation at the meeting was headed by Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal.
The participants of the meeting included Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Security Oscar Stenstrom and Permanent State Secretary for the Finnish Foreign Ministry Jukka Salovaara, along with their delegations.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week – a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the Baltic states for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.