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Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey Keeps Up Pressure on Sweden, Finland

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference after an extraordinary meeting of the OIC Executive Committee in Istanbul, Turkey, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkey’s foreign minister says Sweden and Finland must now take “concrete steps” to alleviate his country’s security concerns to overcome Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership bid.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that delegations from the two Nordic countries have returned home with Turkey’s demands after a visit this week and Ankara is awaiting their answers, The Associated Press reported.

The countries’ membership bids require support from all NATO countries, but Turkey is objecting to them. It has cited alleged support for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey.

Cavusoglu said that “an approach of ‘we’ll convince Turkey in time anyway, we are friends and allies’ would not be correct.” He insisted that “these countries need to take concrete steps.”

He added that “we understand Finland and Sweden’s security concerns but ... everyone also needs to understand Turkey’s legitimate security concerns.”