Turkey Says Finland Must Lift Arms Embargo to Join NATO

Finland imposed export controls on Turkey in 2019 over a Turkish operation against Kurdish groups in northeast Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that Finland must declare an end to the arms embargo it imposed on Turkey in order for the Nordic nation to join NATO.

Both Finland and Sweden placed export controls on Turkey in 2019 in response to a Turkish incursion into northeast Syria against Kurdish militants. As part of the deal Turkey signed with the two countries, they agreed to lift the arms embargo.

Sweden announced in September that it was lifting its embargo, but Finland has yet to do so. Finland’s defense minister is visiting Turkey this week for talks on NATO, and Cavusoglu said he expects an announcement to be made.

“The Finnish defense minister’s visit to Turkey is important because we have not yet heard a statement from Finland saying they’ve lifted their arms embargo against us,” Cavusoglu said. “We’re expecting such a statement from there.”

Another aspect of the deal to join NATO is related to Turkey’s extradition requests for suspected members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Sweden and Finland didn’t explicitly agree to extradite whoever Turkey requests, but that appears to be what Ankara is seeking.

Most of the people Ankara wants to be extradited are in Sweden, and Stockholm sent a suspected PKK member to Turkey last week. Turkish officials welcomed the extradition but said more is required if Sweden wants its NATO bid approved by the Turkish parliament.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.