Türkiye has "specific expectations" in mind in its fight against terrorism and Sweden must recognise Ankara's security concerns, Türkiye's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun says.
Ankara will assess whether Stockholm fulfils the commitments it has made to combat terrorism, Türkiye's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said, reminding Sweden that its entry into NATO depends on that.
Türkiye has "specific expectations" in mind in its fight against terrorism and Sweden must recognise Ankara's security concerns, Altun told Swedish newspaper Expressen on Thursday.
He stressed that a memorandum of understanding signed by Türkiye, Sweden and Finland in June-end should not be regarded as a confirmation of the Nordic countries' entry into NATO.
Türkiye has been calling on Sweden and Finland to fulfil their promises before the ratification of the memorandum in Turkish parliament — a necessary step for the induction of new members in the 30-member transatlantic NATO alliance.
"Türkiye will assess whether Sweden fulfils the commitments. Let's be clear, we have been a member of the alliance for 70 years and have the second-largest army in the alliance, which Sweden wants to join today. The assessment here will be conducted by Türkiye," Altun said.
He reiterated that the Swedish government made a written commitment to take necessary steps against terrorism.
"We had made it clear from the beginning of the process that we would assess Sweden's membership independently. Türkiye, as a sovereign country, made a move in exchange for these commitments. In other words, Sweden pledged to comply with Türkiye's demands," Altun added.
Nordic NATO bids
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May, a decision spurred by Russia's offensive against Ukraine. But Türkiye, a longstanding member, voiced objections, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups.
The memorandum signed on the sidelines of a crucial NATO summit in Madrid in June-end paved the way for Sweden's and Finland's NATO entry.
It promised to address Türkiye's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects, and investigate and interdict financing as well as recruitment activities of the PKK and other terrorist groups.
Representatives from NATO's 30 member states earlier this week signed accession protocols for Sweden and Finland, after they were formally invited to join the alliance following the security deal.
Still, the protocol must be ratified by all 30 allied parliaments to allow the Nordic countries to become part of the transatlantic defence alliance.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, EU and NATO – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.