Turkish, Swedish, Finnish FMs meet to discuss Nordic NATO bids

Turkish, Swedish, Finnish FMs meet to discuss Nordic NATO bids

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday met with the top diplomats of Finland and Sweden, which have applied for NATO membership, at a tripartite meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of the alliance in the Romanian capital Bucharest, reports TurkicWorld with the reference to Daily Sabah.

Cavusoglu met with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in Bucharest, where he was for the NATO foreign ministers meeting.

Making a statement on social media regarding the tripartite meeting, Cavusoglu stated that Türkiye conveyed its expectations within the framework of the memorandum of understanding signed during the NATO Summit held in Madrid in June.

"At the Türkiye-Sweden-Finland Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meeting, we evaluated the steps taken within the framework of the Tripartite Memorandum and emphasized our expectations," he said, referring to a pact signed this June under which the Nordic countries work to address Türkiye's security concerns.

Sweden is on track to meet Türkiye's requirements for accepting it and Finland as new members of NATO, Billstrom also said earlier in the day.

"We are on a steady path to meet Türkiye's conditions," he said before the meeting with colleagues from NATO countries. He hoped talks with Türkiye and Finland later in the day would help speed the process along.

The foreign ministers of NATO candidates Finland and Sweden are joining the talks. NATO is eager to add the two Nordic nations to the defensive forces lined up against Russia. Türkiye and Hungary are the holdouts on ratifying their applications. The 28 other member nations have already done so.

NATO foreign ministers are taking a part in a two-day meeting in the Romanian capital Bucharest starting on Tuesday.

The ministers are set to discuss the war in Ukraine, considered a threat to Euro-Atlantic peace and security.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings said Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to use winter as a weapon against Ukraine and that Russia might continue attacking the Ukrainian electricity grid and natural gas infrastructure.

Stoltenberg added that NATO foreign ministers will meet with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to discuss Ukraine's most urgent needs.

"NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down. There can be no lasting peace if the aggressor wins," said Stoltenberg.

Ukraine's top diplomat said NATO foreign ministers will discuss the provision of new weapons, ammunition and military equipment for Kyiv during the meeting.

Also, the foreign ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova will be present to discuss cooperation with NATO.

"These three countries are facing Russian pressure in many different ways, so at our meeting, we will take further steps to help them protect their independence and strengthen their ability to defend themselves," said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg also said it is time to finalize the accession process of Finland and Sweden and welcome them as full-fledged NATO members.

"This will make them safer, NATO stronger and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure, he noted.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson recently said Ankara's security concerns will be addressed under the June tripartite memorandum.

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

But Türkiye, a powerful NATO member for over 70 years, voiced objections to their membership bids, due to the two Nordic countries tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Türkiye and the two NATO hopefuls signed a memorandum in June at the NATO Summit in Madrid to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden.

Finland and Sweden extend their full support to Türkiye countering threats to its national security, according to the memorandum. To that effect, Helsinki and Stockholm are not to provide support to the PKK terrorist group, its Syrian branch, the YPG, and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye.

In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States and the European Union, which includes Sweden and Finland – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

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

Unanimous consent of all 30 existing allied countries is required for a country to join NATO.