ANKARA: If Finland and Sweden wish to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has sought a "formal agreement" from them on actions to eliminate their "support for terrorism."
Cavusoglu's comments come a day before Turkey meets with the two Nordic countries in Ankara to discuss their NATO bids, according to reports.
"We demand them to stop supporting terrorists and lift defence constraints," the Minister told reporters on his flight to Palestine and Israel, according to Turkey's NTV television. "'We can take concrete actions,' they said. Ankara demands "assurances" as well as a written agreement, according to the Turkish Minister "in a written contract. According to Cavusoglu, the three countries might hold a four-way discussion with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in this respect.
On Wednesday, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will meet with Finnish and Swedish officials, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Turkey has been the only NATO member to oppose Sweden and Finland's NATO bids, citing the two nations' support for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkey has designated the PKK as a terrorist organisation, and it has been fighting the Turkish government for more than three decades.