Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that Sweden and Finland should amend their laws if required to meet Turkey’s demands for the Nordic nations to join NATO.
Turkey’s main gripe with Sweden and Finland is their alleged support for the Kurdish militant group PKK, which Ankara, the US, and the EU consider a terrorist organization. Delegations from the two Nordic nations traveled to Turkey last week for talks on Ankara’s objections, but it was reported that little progress was made.
Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland have received Turkey’s demands in writing. “Are our demands impossible? No. We want them to halt their support for terror,” he told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. “They put it this way: ‘since we are far away from terror regions, our laws are designed that way.’ Well, then you need to change them.”
The Turkish diplomat stated that the two nations should amend laws that allow the PKK and other groups to hold rallies. “They say it is allowed for the terrorist organization to organize events and wave their rags around. Then you have to change your law,” he said.
Writing in The Economist in an article published Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he believes admitting Sweden and Finland would be a security risk for Turkey and NATO. “Turkey maintains that the admission of Sweden and Finland entails risks for its own security and the organization’s future,” he wrote.
US and NATO officials have tried to downplay Turkey’s objection to Sweden and Finland’s membership as they were hoping for a short application process. But Turkey blocked the alliance from holding early talks on their potential memberships, and Erdogan has made clear Turkey won’t drop its objection until its demands are fulfilled.