Turkey’s foreign minister says Sweden and Finland must now take “concrete steps” to alleviate his country’s security concerns to overcome Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership bid.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that delegations from the two Nordic countries have returned home with Turkey’s demands after a visit this week and Ankara is awaiting their answers.
The countries’ membership bids require support from all NATO countries, but Turkey is objecting to them. It has cited alleged support for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey.
Cavusoglu said that “an approach of ‘we’ll convince Turkey in time anyway, we are friends and allies’ would not be correct.” He insisted that “these countries need to take concrete steps.”
He added that “we understand Finland and Sweden’s security concerns but ... everyone also needs to understand Turkey’s legitimate security concerns.”
Adding Sweden and Finland could further upset the Kremlin, which has sought to weaken the NATO alliance.
The moves by Sweden and Finland come after Russia invaded Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO. Had Ukraine been a member of NATO, other nations in the alliance would have been obligated to provide defense for the nation.
The Biden administration has expressed support for welcoming the two Scandinavian nations to the 30-member military alliance.