Turkey demands ’concrete steps’ to back Nordics’ NATO bids

A senior Turkish official said after talks with Swedish and Finnish officials on May 25 that Turkey would not agree to the two Nordic countries joining NATO unless specific steps are taken to address Ankara's objections.

"We have made it very clear that if Turkey's security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe the process will not progress," İbrahim Kalın told a news conference after the talks in Ankara that lasted about five hours.

Kalın is the spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and a senior presidential aide.

Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week, in a move representing one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia's war in Ukraine that could rewrite Europe's security map.

Turkey has said it opposes the countries' membership in the Western military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden's _ and a to a lesser extent Finland's _ support of the PKK terror organization. 
The Turkish government also says Finland and Sweden are imposing arms exports restrictions on Turkey and refusing to extradite suspected terrorists.

Turkey's objections have dampened Stockholm's and Helsinki's hopes for joining NATO quickly amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. All 30 NATO members must agree on admitting new members.

The Swedish and Finnish delegations met with Kalın and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal. The Swedish delegation was led by state secretary Oscar Stenstrom, while Jukka Salovaara, the foreign ministry undersecretary, headed up the Finnish delegation, Turkish officials said.

Kalın said Turkey's proposal to lift arms export limits was met with a "positive attitude" by the Swedish and Finnish delegations.


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