‘Finland fails to take Turkey’s security concerns seriously’

Finland has to stop protecting terrorist groups and take Turkey’s security concerns seriously if the country wants its approval for NATO, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Tuesday.

“The problem is not that Finland would not understand Turkey. Finland refuses to take Turkey’s security concerns seriously,” Altun told Finland’s largest daily Helsingin Sanomat by email.

Altun’s words echoed what Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, Ibrahim Kalın, told his US counterpart on Monday, calling for the two Nordic countries to “take concrete steps regarding the terrorist organizations that threaten Turkey’s national security.”

“Eventually Finland’s government must decide which is more important, to join NATO or protect these kinds of organizations,” Altun told the paper.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry said Sweden and Finland rejected Ankara’s request for the extradition of people with links to the PKK and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ),

Both of the Nordic countries rejected the extradition of 19 terrorists and did not respond to Turkey’s request for five others.

Turkey requested the extradition of six FETÖ and six PKK suspects from Finland based on court rulings in the past five years.

The extradition process for nine terrorists, including two in Finland and seven in Sweden, is still ongoing.

Finnish Parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen recently said his country cannot extradite PKK terrorists, as he called them “innocent people,” despite the fact that the PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Turkey said it would not view Finland and Sweden’s applications positively, mainly citing their history of support to terrorist organizations, including the PKK and its Syrian wing, the YPG.

Any membership bid must be unanimously approved by NATO’s 30 members.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has swung political and public opinion in Finland and neighboring Sweden in favor of NATO membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

Sweden and Finland were both neutral throughout the Cold War, and their decision to join NATO would be one of the biggest changes to Europe’s security architecture for decades, reflecting a sweeping shift in public opinion in the Nordic region since Russia invaded its neighbor Ukraine in February .

Moscow has responded to the prospect of the Nordic states joining NATO by threatening retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical measures.”

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