Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Monday that he would meet with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts to discuss their countries’ requests to join NATO, on the sidelines of the alliance’s meeting in Bucharest on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) in Bucharest we will meet the Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers in the framework of tripartite coordination,” Cavusoglu told Turkish private television channel NTV.
Turkey accuses NATO candidates Sweden and Finland of being lenient with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“The process is developing positively, but there are still steps to be taken,” Cavusoglu said. “Indeed, Sweden is the country that needs to take the most steps,” he added.
Stockholm and Helsinki have abandoned their traditional policy of neutrality by announcing their desire to join NATO after Russia’s start of the war in Ukraine on February 24th.
Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visited Ankara earlier this month to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Stockholm was hoping for Turkey’s endorsement.
Prior to that trip, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who had met with Cavusoglu and Erdogan in Istanbul, said the two countries were committed to working with Turkey to address Ankara’s concerns, adding it was time to welcome them.
Of all NATO members, only Hungary and Turkey remained to ratify the Helsinki and Stockholm demands.
Last week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that next year the parliament would ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership.
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