Turkey has steadily continued to voice its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak reported that Turkey has set Sweden and Finland 10 conditions for lifting the veto on their NATO membership.
The conditions reportedly include:
- Support for Turkey in its fight against terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, DHKP/C, DAESH, FETO and their affiliates. Establishment of “legal norms” and “legal infrastructure” in Sweden and Finland to combat terrorism. The countries should stop attempts to open representative offices of Kurds on their territories.
- To prevent the activities of FETO and to close the media affiliated with the organization.
- Comply with the requirements to freeze the assets of organizations associated with terrorism.
- Comply with the requirements for the extradition of persons associated with terrorism.
- Prohibit organizations like the PKK from holding demonstrations.
- To share intelligence data with Turkey.
- Remove restrictions from the Turkish defense industry.
- In the case of joining NATO, commit to fulfill these requirements.
Rejep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Turkey is opposed to Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO because these countries support organisations designated as terrorist by Ankara. Turkey has previously spoken out on the matter and accused Sweden and Finland of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Erdogan said: “Turkey wants these countries to support counterterrorism operations to be carried out by NATO members. Terrorism is a threat to all member states, and candidate countries must recognize this fact before they join the organization. If they do not take the necessary steps, Turkey will not change its position on this issue.”
Ankara continues to insist that admitting Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Alliance would entail risks to Turkey’s security as well as to the future of the entire organization. At the same time, Erdogan said that the partners, who mention Turkey only in crises, make the erroneous judgment that long-term stability can be achieved without Ankara’s participation.
Erdogan held telephone conversations with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general. Erdogan noted that support from Helsinki and Stockholm is possible, but only if they recognize Turkey’s security threat. President Erdogan’s office said the Turkish side supports NATO’s open-door policy. The issue regarding Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membership in the bloc is the attitude of these two countries toward Turkey’s vital national security interests. If Finland and Sweden do not agree with Turkey in the security field, Turkey will perceive their membership in NATO negatively, especially when there is still an arms embargo against Turkey.
Sweden and Finland have had the experience of granting asylum to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which makes the situation more complicated. But Turkey has a clear position, namely that countries will lift sanctions against it.
Finland and Sweden are in a positive mood for a dialogue with Turkey. The spokesman for the United States Department of State is confident that a consensus will be found and that NATO will expand.