Türkiye, Sweden, Finland to discuss NATO bids in Bucharest

Türkiye, Sweden, Finland to discuss NATO bids in Bucharest

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is set to talk over with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts their countries’ applications to join NATO on the sidelines of the alliance’s meeting on Tuesday.

“We will meet with Sweden and Finland’s foreign ministers tomorrow in Bucharest under a trilateral format,” Cavusoglu said Monday as he spoke to a group of reporters after a joint press conference with his Turkmen counterpart in Ankara, private Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

Sweden and Finland abandoned their longstanding policy of military nonalignment and applied to join the transatlantic alliance in May, largely driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All 30 NATO members must ratify their accession but Türkiye, along with Hungary, has stalled its approval due to the Nordic nations, especially Sweden, of providing a haven for terrorists from groups like the PKK and its Syrian wing, the YPG, and the Gulenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind the bloody 2016 coup d’état attempt in Türkiye.

While Stockholm has been taking steps to get in Türkiye’s good graces since the sides struck a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June that requires them to cut off support to PKK terrorists and its offshoots, Ankara has so far been unimpressed with Sweden's minimal actions.

“Sweden and Finland are yet to take concrete steps under the trilateral memorandum,” the minister said Monday, noting that Sweden especially needs to make more of an effort to implement its promises.

On Friday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson assured his country would fulfill its promises to Türkiye on the fight against terrorism in remarks that followed a terrorist attack in Istanbul that killed six and injured 81, as well as PKK/YPG attacks on its southeastern provinces that killed two and wounded 14 others.

The second meeting of the permanent joint mechanism between the three nations was held the same day in Stockholm, to the shared end of ensuring the implementation of commitments in the memorandum, that the Nordic countries would extend full support to Türkiye against threats to its national security.

Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have warned that Türkiye will not give the nod to Sweden's and Finland's memberships until the memorandum is implemented.