Turkey has threatened to 'freeze' Sweden and Finland's NATO membership process, which it accuses of benevolence towards the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its allies, considered by Ankara as terrorist organizations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused Sweden of not doing its part in the fight against terrorism.
Sweden and Finland on Friday reaffirmed their commitment to combat “terrorism”, Turkey said after a meeting in Finland between Turkish, Swedish and Finnish officials over the terrorism. NATO membership of the two Nordic countries, blocked for the time being by Ankara.
Finland and Sweden have reiterated their commitment, recorded in the trilateral memorandum [ signed at the end of June], to show full solidarity and cooperation with Turkey in the fight against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, said the statement issued by the Office of the Spokesperson of the Turkish presidency.
A new tripartite meeting is to be held in the fall, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said after the first meeting held near Helsinki on Friday.
Since mid-May, Turkey, a member of the Atlantic Alliance, has been blocking this process, accusing the two countries of protecting Kurdish fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), considered terrorists by Ankara.
At the end of June, however, the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers signed a memorandum opening the access of the two Nordic nations to NATO.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde as part of the NATO summit in Madrid. Ankara lifted its objections to the entry of these two countries into the military alliance.
Turkey made the next day extradition requests to the two countries for 33 people, most considered terrorists by Ankara, before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately evoked a promise made by Sweden to extradite 73 terrorists.
The memorandum signed at the end of June only indicates that Finland and Sweden will respond to requests for extraditions made by Ankara, without mentioning any figures.
It was agreed to intensify technical cooperation between relevant institutions in order to achieve progress, the Turkish presidency said on Friday.
No new issues were raised during the negotiations, said Jukka Salovaara, the head of the Finnish delegation.
I believe that all parties feel that the discussions have deepened their understanding of a number of issues, he told Finnish television Yle after the meeting.
Stockholm said the meeting had provided an opportunity to discuss the formalities of the Madrid agreement and its implementation.
Last week, Ankara expressed impatience, urging Sweden to extradite terrorists.
If they think they can trick Turkey into believing they have held their promises in extraditing common criminals, they are wrong, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said after the announcement of a first extradition.
The latter concerned a man identified as Okan Kale, convicted in Turkey of credit card fraud.
To date, 23 NATO member states – out of 30 – have ratified the membership application of the two Nordic countries.
Of the remaining seven countries – Spain, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Turkey – only the latter has expressed opposition.
Stockholm and Helsinki have abandoned their traditional policy of staying out of military alliances by announcing their wish to join the x27;NATO after Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.