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31 Jan, 2023 13:19

Türkiye reiterates proposal for Finland

Unbundling its NATO bid from Sweden’s would help Helsinki gain Ankara’s consent, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has said
Türkiye reiterates proposal for Finland

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested a solution to help Finland improve its chances to have its NATO application approved by Ankara – seeking accession without fellow candidate Sweden.

“If the two countries want to follow a separate procedure, we said that we look at Finland more positively,” the minister suggested on Tuesday, as quoted by Turkish media. He was speaking at a press conference during a visit to Hungary. 

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto indicated last week that his country was considering the option. On Monday, however, he said that Helsinki still wants a synchronized accession and can wait while Türkiye and Sweden resolve their differences.

The security guarantees that Finland has from individual nations are sufficient, Haavisto added, explaining the lack of urgency. Finland and Sweden claim they are abandoning their policies of neutrality due to the threat supposedly posed by Russia, when they submitted their applications to NATO last year.

Cavusoglu said Ankara understands the security concerns of the two nations, but wants them to reciprocate. “The PKK and FETO have an intense presence, especially in Sweden. Fundraising, financing of terrorism, recruitment, propaganda activities continue,” he claimed.

The Turkish foreign minister was referring to two organizations that Ankara considers major threats. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) is a Kurdish militia that has waged a decades-long guerilla war against the Turkish government. ‘FETO’ is the name that Türkiye uses for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accused of masterminding the failed military coup in 2016.

Cavusoglu reiterated his claim that Sweden is tolerating Islamophobia by allowing right-wing activist Rasmus Paludan to burn the Koran during political protests. Ankara insists that such protests should not be granted freedom of speech protections.