No progress has been seen on the return of terrorist suspects as part of a trilateral agreement with Finland and Sweden for the Nordic countries’ NATO bid, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday.
After a NATO meeting in Romania, Çavuşoğlu said: “These two countries have taken some steps regarding their commitments, we do not ignore these steps. However, there is no concrete progress on some issues, especially regarding the return of criminals and the freezing of assets from terrorist elements.”
On the other hand, he also said that Turkey welcomes the new Swedish government’s commitment to the fight against terrorism.
The Turkish people and parliament must be convinced to approve Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, he added.
Seeking Turkey’s green light to join NATO, Sweden’s and Finland’s foreign ministers met their Turkish counterparts on Tuesday on the sidelines of an alliance meeting in Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
For Sweden and Finland to become NATO members, their applications must be ratified by all 30 NATO members. So far, 28 have already done so – only Türkiye and Hungary still have votes left.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
However, Türkiye expressed objections to the membership bids and criticized the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
A trilateral memorandum at the NATO summit in Madrid signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the PKK’s Syrian offshoots, the YPG and PYD, or the Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ) – the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.
Sweden and Finland agreed earlier this summer to assure Turkey of their support against security risks.