Sweden must take concrete action to join NATO: Turkish FM
Sweden needs to take concrete steps in order to secure Türkiye’s ratification for its NATO membership bid, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday, a day after Finland officially joined the bloc, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
“The steps Sweden has taken so far are insufficient; they must cooperate on the fight against terrorism,” Cavusoglu told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels, adding that Turkish and Swedish officials discussed the steps Stockholm must implement at their meetings during the summit.
“We have expressed from the start that Türkiye had fewer problems with Finland and they have taken action to that end,” Cavusoglu said. “And Türkiye’s ratification of Finland’s NATO membership is essentially proof of our support to NATO’s open-door policy.”
Finland became the 31st member of the NATO military alliance Tuesday in a historic policy shift. The Nordic country got its blessing from Türkiye, the last NATO member to approve its membership after the Turkish Parliament ratified it last week following months of disputes that left Sweden behind.
Several sticking points, largely Ankara’s concerns over the harboring and tolerance of PKK/YPG and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) terrorists in Sweden, have held up the process. Türkiye demands their extradition and effective cooperation against these groups to greenlight Stockholm’s bid.
Cavusoglu on Wednesday further revealed he had discussed Sweden's NATO bid and the issue of the U.S. selling F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Ankara’s request from Washington for 40 F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits has been hog-tied due to several reasons, chiefly Türkiye’s decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air missile defense systems and objections from the U.S. Congress over their potential usage by Turkish forces.