Reuters - Anadolu Agency
Turkey's Foreign Minister said on Nov. 3 that Sweden and Finland have not yet fulfilled all obligations under a deal clearing their bids to join NATO, and they must still take concrete steps.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, speaking alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul, also said Turkey observed that Sweden's new government under Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is taking a decisive approach to fulfilling obligations.
"We should show our nation and the parliament that these countries (Sweden and Finland) have taken concrete steps to address our concerns," Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkey, he said, is aware of the positive steps taken by both Nordic countries.
"Our intent is not to harm NATO or prevent NATO's enlargement. Secretary general knows very well that Turkey has been one of the most steadfast supporters of NATO's enlargement at all summits. We've been very clear about NATO enlargement and our support for it," Çavuşoğlu added.
He urged Sweden and Finland to take especially concrete steps in fight against terrorism as "it is also one of the top priorities of NATO."
The top Turkish diplomat also announced that the second trilateral meeting between Turkey, Sweden and Finland will take place in Stockholm.
Stoltenberg said the Nordic countries are living up to the joint memorandum as he urged for their full membership.
"Their accession will make our alliance stronger and our people safer," he added.
Sweden and Finland signed a memorandum in June, resulting in NATO member Turkey lifting a veto of their applications to join the trans-Atlantic security alliance. The two asked to join in response to Russia's war in Ukraine, but Turkey sought extra guarantees, including that they not shelter Kurdish militants.
Turkey's support to Ukraine has reduced "some of the effects of brutal war," the NATO chief also said, commending Ankara's efforts for prisoner swap and the Black Sea grain deal.