Finland on Sunday officially confirmed its intention to join the NATO alliance, expressing readiness to engage in talks with Turkiye on the issues it raised on the Scandinavian country’s membership.
The country’s Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy approved its application for NATO membership, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a news conference alongside Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Niinisto said he is ready to meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the issues that the Turkish president raised recently about Finland’s membership, particularly that the country was tolerating extremists and far-left terror groups, including the PKK, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations.
Noting Helsinki’s surprise at Turkiye’s negative approach on their membership, Niinisto said: “Now, we need a very clear answer.”
He underlined that his country was entering a new era, describing Sunday’s step towards membership as a “historic day.”
Prime Minister Marin also said the decision to apply for NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security.
The Finnish parliament is expected to approve the decision on Monday.
Issues raised by Turkiye on Finnish, Swedish NATO membership
Turkiye has reiterated its stance on the membership bids of Finland and Sweden, saying that allies should not support terrorism in any form.
“Countries supporting terrorism should not be allies in NATO,” Cavusoglu said on Sunday after an informal NATO gathering held in Germany’s capital Berlin, adding that he briefed participating officials on the support that the two Nordic countries provide the PKK terror group, especially in arms supplies from Sweden.
Both Finland and Sweden “must stop supporting terror groups,” and give clear security guarantees in order to become NATO members, said Cavusoglu, who noted that NATO members should show solidarity with one another.
Erdogan also voiced objections this week to the two Scandinavian countries’ expected NATO applications, saying they were “like terrorist groups’ guesthouses.”
“There are supporters of terrorism in parliament. We cannot be positive towards this,” he had said.
Turkiye has long suffered from terrorism, especially from the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
As one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terror group, the country has also been attacked by its terrorists multiple times.
The terror group has carried out at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed attacks, killing 315 people and injuring hundreds more.
In response, Turkiye launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.
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