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Türkiye calls on Sweden, Finland to fulfill commitments to join NATO

"We expect Sweden and Finland to fulfill their commitments by demonstrating the strength of the state, and to put an end to vile attempts."

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 23,2023

Ankara called on Sweden and Finland on Monday to fulfill their commitments under a June memorandum they signed with Türkiye to join NATO, said the country's defense chief.

"We expect Sweden and Finland to fulfill their commitments by demonstrating the strength of the state, and to put an end to vile attempts," National Defens Minister Hulusi Akar said in a virtual meeting with high-ranking military officials, referring to recent provocations against Türkiye, including a demonstration by supporters of the PKK terrorist organization and a Quran burning in Stockholm.

"It is unacceptable to ignore all manner of baseness, disgrace, and disgusting attempts against Türkiye, our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, our flag, the Quran, and our sacred values, and to remain silent and careless about them," Akar said.

"If things goes on like this, our attitude is very clear," he added, referring to Türkiye's refusal to ratify the NATO accession of the two Nordic countries until its security concerns are met.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye-a NATO member for more than 70 years-voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK.

Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

But recent provocative demonstrations by terrorist group supporters and Islamophobic figures in Stockholm have led Turkish leaders to question Sweden's commitment to take the steps necessary to gain NATO membership.

Akar reiterated Türkiye's support for NATO's open-door policy, adding that Ankara harbored no enmity for Sweden and Finland and did not stand against the two countries joining the alliance.

"Just as they want to cooperate with NATO to defend their own country, we want cooperation and support in the fight against terrorism," he said.

Sweden and Finland seek Türkiye's support for the defense and security of their country, but they reject Ankara's demands in fighting terrorism, he said, adding that Ankara was using its international relations and diplomacy "intensively in the fight against terrorism."

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under the protection of police and with permission from the government, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday.

Last week, Türkiye called on Sweden to take steps against terror groups after a demonstration in Stockholm, where supporters of the PKK terrorist organization hung in effigy by the feet a figure of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then uploaded footage of the provocation along with threats against Türkiye and Erdogan.

On a recent trilateral meeting in Moscow between the defense and intelligence chiefs of Türkiye, Russia, and Syria, Akar said that during the discussions, Ankara underlined its determination in fighting terrorism.

The Turkish side also expressed to its interlocutors its desire to put an end to the flow of migration and its intention to ensure that the Syrians in Türkiye return to their lands and homes "voluntarily, safely, and in a dignified manner" after the necessary conditions are met.

He also noted that Turkish forces had "neutralized" a total of 134 terrorists in the last month.