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Sweden, Finland launch special talks with Turkey over joining NATO

Turkey’s Erdogan could determine course of action

Ankara, Turkey | XINHUA |  Sweden and Finland proposed to work with Turkey on the “security guarantees” that Ankara has demanded over their plans to join NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

Turkey has been supporting the open-door policy of NATO, but Finland and Sweden’s membership bid raises security concerns for Ankara, Cavusoglu told Turkish reporters in Berlin after a NATO meeting.

Countries that “come in contact with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) must abandon their stance,” state-run TRT broadcaster quoted the minister as saying.

These countries also impose export restrictions on Turkey in the defense industry, he said, adding that export bans should be lifted if they seek membership in NATO.

Cavusoglu had a tripartite meeting with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde and Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto in Berlin on Saturday on the sidelines of the NATO meeting.

Finland and Sweden came up with a proposal at the meeting to conduct a joint work for addressing Turkey’s objections, he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey does not have a favorable opinion on the idea of Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

As a NATO member, Turkey can veto a country’s admission to the military alliance. ■

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