ANKARA : NATO’s new strategic concept should include a resolve to fight all forms of terrorism, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday.
In a joint news conference with his Romanian and Polish counterparts following a trilateral meeting, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland should end their support of terrorism if they want to join NATO.
Also, they must lift restrictions on Turkiye’s defense industry, he added.
Cavusoglu said Turkiye’s stance on the two countries’ NATO bids is “clear and unequivocal.”
“I hope Finland and Sweden understand our messages,” he also said.
“Other NATO member states should also encourage Finland and Sweden to take steps to address Ankara’s concerns. Solidarity within NATO is important to all of us. We understand the security concerns of Finland and Sweden. Everyone also needs to understand Turkiye’s legitimate security concerns.”
Turkiye conveyed its expectations to the delegations from Sweden and Finland during the meeting on Wednesday in the capital Ankara, Cavusgolu said, adding: “After the meeting, we expect these countries to take concrete steps in response to the documents, given to Finland and Sweden in the talks.”
That is why Turkiye wants the fight against terrorism to be clearly included in the strategic concept, he added.
Meanwhile, for his part, Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said here, as allies on NATO’s eastern flank, we discussed the effects of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its security implications in Europe.
The cornerstones of Europe’s security structures were evaluated and this “illegal war” which Russia opened against Ukraine was addressed, Aurescu added.
Also, referring to Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids, he said the NATO membership of these countries will contribute to the defense and security of the allies.
Meanwhile, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said responding to security concerns about Turkiye’s borders is important for them, noting that they also care about the defense on the eastern flank of the alliance.
“It is extremely important that Sweden and Finland join NATO. This is a must. This is a prerequisite for the strengthening of the union. We also understand very well why the two countries want to join now. Worsening conditions in Europe, worsening conditions in the Baltic region forced these countries to join NATO. I think that Turkiye’s concerns will be resolved in unity and solidarity within NATO,” Rau added.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
Ankara hosted on Wednesday consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in the capital.
According to presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, it has been conveyed that their NATO bids cannot progress unless Turkiye’s security concerns are addressed through concrete steps, and in a certain timeframe.— AA