Turkey will monitor whether Sweden and Finland abide by the deal signed late June on the sidelines of the NATO Madrid summit, the country’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Wednesday.
Referring to the commitments regarding full cooperation with Turkey in fighting terrorism, lifting the defense industry embargo and restrictions, and expanding cooperation, Altun told the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat: "Now, the responsibility of these two countries is to keep their promises."
Ankara has already shared the necessary information with the authorities in Sweden and Finland on the extradition of terrorists, he said, noting that this will also be for their security. Turkey has sent letters to Sweden and Finland renewing its request for the extradition of people it considers terrorism suspects, the Turkish justice minister said Wednesday.
Turrkey supports NATO's enlargement policy, said Altun, adding that countries that want be NATO members must clearly express that they share the alliance values.
"Of course, our most important expectation (from the two Nordic countries) was to prevent the propaganda, recruitment, and financing activities of the PKK, its Syrian extension, the YPG, and the FETÖ (Gülenist Terror Group), which attempted a coup in Turkey and killed 251 innocent people," he stressed.
Ankara has clearly said that the two countries cannot impose an arms embargo on Turkey, NATO's second-largest country, he added.
For more than 70 years as a key NATO ally, Turkey participated in alliance missions worldwide while protecting its southern flank.
"As a result, we thought that Finland and Sweden fully understand how serious and determined we are in the fight against terrorism, as a memorandum has been signed," Altun said.
In response to a question on whether Turkey retreated any of its demands from Sweden and Finland during talks in Madrid, he said "no," stressing that the country has made totally legitimate demands.
"In case these demands are not met, any progress in the membership requests of Finland and Sweden could directly endanger NATO. So, it was out of the question for us to make any concessions," Altun noted.
Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a joint memorandum last week that allowed NATO to move ahead with inviting the Nordic countries to the military alliance that seeks to enlarge and strengthen in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Their membership applications were held up until the last moment by Turkey, which sought guarantees that the Nordic countries would join Turkey's fight against PKK-linked terrorists and to swiftly extradite suspects.
The dispute was resolved by a 10-point memorandum that appeared to address many of Turkey's terrorism concerns and lift an arms embargo on Ankara imposed in response to Turkey's 2019 military operation into Syria.
According to the signed memorandum, Finland and Sweden pledged not to support the PKK and its Syrian branch the YPG groups or the network of U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, who staged a 2016 coup attempt and labeled as a terrorist organization. The signed memorandum did not list any individuals for extradition.
The Nordic countries’ accession still needs to be approved by parliaments of all 30 NATO members — a process that could take months — and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned that Turkey's Parliament could refuse to do so.
Turkey's Western allies designate the PKK as a terrorist group but not the YPG, which the United States has partnered with to fight the Daesh terrorist group in Syria despite Ankara's objections. The PKK launched its insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Wednesday condemned a group of left-wing MPs who posed with the so-called flags of the PKK as the country's NATO membership bid faces Turkish pressure over such groups.
On Tuesday, images spread on social media showing parliamentarians from the Left Party, which opposed Sweden's decision to apply for NATO membership, posing with flags from the PKK, the YPG and the women’s wing YPJ.
The images were taken during an annual political gathering on the island of Gotland.
"The PKK is a designated terrorist organisation, not just in Sweden, but in the EU and posing with such flags is extremely inappropriate," Andersson told news agency TT.
Sweden's Left Party is not part of the government but is helping prop up Andersson's Social Democrat Cabinet.