Sweden and Finland seeking NATO seats should offer "guarantees" they will stop backing terrorists targeting Türkiye, FM Mevlut Cavusoglu says while hailing "positive" talks with US over sale of F-16 fighter jets.
Türkiye's top diplomat has raised security concerns during his visit to the United States after Finland and Sweden formally submitted a joint application to join NATO military alliance –– countries that Türkiye says support anti-Ankara terrorist groups.
"We have legitimate security concerns that they have been supporting terrorist organisations," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday ahead of his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Türkiye has been in support of NATO's open-door policy for new members, he said, adding: "We understand their security concerns, but Türkiye's security concerns should also be met."
NATO allies and those who seek membership should address "our security concerns" and provide "guarantees" they will stop backing terrorists targeting Türkiye, said Cavusoglu.
Another issue was export restrictions on Turkish defence products, he said, adding, "We already expressed our concerns and I had a candid and direct talk with two colleagues."
Hours later, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan voiced confidence that Turkiye's "concerns can be addressed."
The Nordic countries are seeking NATO membership in the wake of Russia's ongoing assault on Ukraine and fear that Moscow won't stop there. For any new member to join NATO, the alliance's members must agree unanimously, including Türkiye.
On F-16 sale
Talks with the US regarding the sale of F-16 jets to Ankara were on a positive trajectory, Cavusoglu said.
He spoke about a State Department letter to reporters in New York that addressed the US Congress which said the delivery of the jets "is not only important for Türkiye, but for the US."
"I can say that our negotiations and the meetings are going on positively, and the Congress should work on it as well," said Cavusoglu.
"Most of the messages coming from the Congress regarding Turkish and US relations are positive and our diplomats are in close correspondence as with many of the parliamentarians and they have held many meetings."
A $6 billion deal would include the sale of 40 newly built F-16V fighter jets and modernization kits for 80 F-16 C/D models that the Turkish Air Forces has in its inventory. The Turkish government requested the F-16s and modernisation kits in October 2021.
Later on Wednesday, a joint statement issued after Cavusoglu's meeting with Blinken said the top diplomats "intend to deepen bilateral cooperation through constructive and open dialogue as envisioned by the Türkiye-US Strategic Mechanism."
"They discussed ways and assessed concrete steps to enhance their cooperation on defence issues, counterterrorism, energy and food security, combating climate change and boosting trade ties, while agreeing to intensify consultations on a range of regional issues," it said.
"They also reiterated their support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russia's unacceptable war. Within this framework, the United States and Türkiye reaffirmed their support to find a solution to end the war."