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Türkiye can’t approve Sweden’s NATO bid unless pledges fulfilled: Cavusoglu

Türkiye has reminded Sweden and Finland of their pledges taken for their NATO accession bids, saying it is impossible to approve Sweden’s bid “without seeing steps taken.”

“With regards to the membership of Finland and Sweden, the position of Türkiye is clear and transparent,” said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday in a joint news conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who arrived in Ankara for a solidarity visit following the earthquakes that occurred on February 6.

Reiterating that terrorism is one of the two main threats to NATO, Cavusoglu said Türkiye expects the two Nordic countries to meet Ankara’s concerns regarding the fight against terrorism.

READ MORE: Cavusoglu: Sweden ‘deliberately’ endangering its NATO bid

Since the signing of the trilateral memorandum at the NATO Madrid Summit in June 2022, Cavusoglu said “there has not been any satisfying steps taken by Sweden.”

“There are pledges (by Sweden and Finland) to NATO membership. It is not possible for us to say ‘yes’ to Sweden’s NATO membership without seeing these steps,” he said.

He also said the NATO bids of the two Nordic countries can be assessed separately, as Türkiye is more positive towards Finland’s process.

Cavusoglu reminded Sweden and Finland of the mechanism established between the three countries and said it would be beneficial to hold a third meeting in Brussels.

“The meeting will be held on March 9,” Cavusoglu said. 

READ MORE: Türkiye’s response to Finland’s NATO bid may ‘shock’ Sweden: Erdogan

Türkiye’s security concerns 

Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum at a NATO summit to address Ankara’s security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terror groups such as the PKK, its offshoots and FETO and to extradite terror suspects to Türkiye, among other steps.

But Turkish officials say the countries, particularly Sweden, have yet to take the necessary steps against terrorism.

Talks on the Nordic membership bids stalled after recent provocative demonstrations and Quran burnings in Stockholm, prompting Finland to consider joining NATO without Sweden.

READ MORE: Majority of Finns reportedly support joining NATO without Sweden

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