(Photo credit : Burhan Ozbilici/AP)
According to Al-Arabiya news, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on 6 December that Finland must lift its arms embargo against Ankara to secure Turkish support for its NATO membership bid.
At the same time, he noted that he is still waiting for an official visit of the Finnish defense minister to Ankara.
“It is important that Finland’s defense minister is coming to Turkiye,” Cavusoglu said.
“Because there has not yet been a statement from Finland that they have lifted the arms embargo against us. We expect such a statement from them,” he added.
Cavusoglu also said that his country supports the NATO membership bid for Sweden and Finland. However, he insisted that both countries have yet to take concrete steps to meet Turkiye’s conditions for final approval.
The Nordic nations, particularly Sweden, have come under fire from Ankara for allegedly hosting individuals linked to the in Turkiye outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a suspected gang member.
Meanwhile, on 11 August, the Swedish government announced the extradition of a Turkish citizen who is wanted in his country for fraud and his alleged ties to the PKK.
This was the first time Stockholm extradited a Turkish citizen following tense negotiations with Ankara earlier this year regarding Sweden’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).
The man in question has been detained in Sweden since last year. He claims he was wrongfully sentenced in Turkiye because he converted from Islam to Christianity, and refused to do military service, as well as his Kurdish roots, according to Swedish broadcaster SVT.
However, the spokesman for Turkiye’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Omer Celik, said late on 31 October that his country is “not satisfied” with the promises made by Sweden to crack down on Kurdish groups labeled as terrorists by Ankara.
Briefing reporters following a meeting of the AKP executive committee, Celik said Sweden “makes very beautiful, elegant promises at the very highest level … but [they are] not enough until they are implemented.”
“We are waiting for it to come to life,” the AKP official added.
Turkiye and Hungary are the only NATO members to have not ratified a bid by Sweden and Finland to join the US-led military alliance.