NATO flags, Turkey

Finland and Sweden negotiate with Turkey its incorporation into NATO

Turkey accuses both countries of aiding the PKK terrorist group. Sweden and Finland are negotiating with Ankara to avoid its veto in NATO.

Finland and Sweden want to negotiate and work with Turkey to eliminate any reluctance that Ankara has towards these two Nordic countries, in order to avoid a possible veto by the Turkish government to join NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday, one day after he held a trilateral meeting in Berlin with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts as part of the Atlantic Alliance summit.

Çavuşoğlu, who insisted that both countries must give guarantees to Turkey on the fight against the YPG/PKK – which both countries recognize as a terrorist organization – and put an end to embargoes on exports to Turkey, met on Saturday with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland, Ann Linde and Pekka Haavisto.

During a press conference held the day after the end of the NATO summit, the Turkish minister recalled that Turkey has always supported the Alliance’s open-door policy, including its expansion to the Balkans, but that the case of Finland and Sweden is different, especially in the case of the latter country.

“During the NATO summit (in Berlin), we have told the member countries that Sweden and Finland support the terrorist organization (PKK). In particular, we have openly expressed the problem with the arms aid provided by Sweden (to this group),” said Çavuşoğlu, who stressed the importance of maintaining solidarity among NATO members on security issues.

“The countries that meet with the PKK, must abandon that attitude,” Çavuşoğlu said, referring to the reasons why Ankara is reluctant to the adhesion of these two countries. The Turkish foreign minister also added that embargo against the Turkish defence industry must end: “It is unacceptable that a NATO member country imposes an embargo on an ally,” he insisted.

“Sweden’s position is not being constructive”

Referring to the trilateral meeting he had with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts, Çavuşoğlu pointed out that the Swedish foreign minister did not maintain a constructive attitude, while her Finnish counterpart did maintain “a more realistic position”. “They say they consider the PKK a terrorist organization, but that their position will not change,” he explained.

“The statements made to date by the Swedish foreign minister have not been constructive, but provocative,” Çavuşoğlu said on Saturday upon his arrival in Berlin. “A large majority of the population in Turkey is against the entry (into NATO) of these countries that are supporting the PKK terrorist organization,” said the minister, recalling that Sweden and Finland “openly support and negotiate with the terrorist group PKK/YPG” despite the fact that this armed organization “commits attacks in Turkey and kills Turkish soldiers and civilians”.

Erdoğan: “Turkey does not want to repeat the same mistake as with Greece”

Last Friday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan warned from Istanbul that Turkey was not in favor of Sweden and Finland’s plans to join NATO after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, because both countries “host many terrorist groups”, unleashing concern among Alliance members about Ankara’s right to veto.

In this regard, Erdoğan assured that the former rulers of Turkey had “made a mistake” when they did not veto Greece’s entry into NATO in 1952, despite the disputes that Turkey maintained – and still maintains today – for sovereignty in the Aegean, which, in his opinion, only contributed to making these problems chronic. “As Turkey, we do not want to make the same mistake twice,” insisted the Turkish president.

Faced with a possible veto by Turkey to join NATO, Finland and especially Sweden have been intensifying their diplomatic efforts in recent days to quickly remove any obstacles to their entry into the Alliance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. To this end, and after the informal meeting of ministers in Berlin, Sweden has already announced sending of a high-level diplomatic delegation to Ankara to address in depth the Turkish government’s concerns about its alleged collaboration with the PKK.