Finland hopes to relieve Türkiye’s security concerns, says Foreign Minister Haavisto

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Wednesday that his country is hoping to relieve Türkiye's security concerns, noting that "the PKK is a forbidden organization both in Sweden and Finland."

On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he told Anadolu that a trilateral working group, formed last summer between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden, "has held excellent meetings" to discuss the NATO bids of Helsinki and Stockholm.

A third meeting will be held at the beginning of this year, he added.

Haavisto pointed out that the issues concerning Türkiye, including the presence of the terrorist organization PKK in other countries, have been discussed in the meetings so far.

Stressing that they will continue to hold in-person talks with Turkish officials, Haavisto said: "I've been talking to my good friend (Turkish Foreign Minister) Mevlut Cavusoglu" about the latest developments in Ukraine and Afghanistan, as well as the NATO membership ratification process.

"We have always maintained direct and good communication," he added.

- Possible US-Türkiye deal on F16s 'could also help' Finland's NATO bid

Stressing the importance of US-Türkiye relations, Haavisto said that whatever deal is made (on the F16 issue) between Washington and Ankara, he hopes that "it could also help the (NATO membership) ratification process (of Finland)."

Cavusoglu embarked on a three-day official visit to the US on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday that Cavusoglu, who is currently in Washington, will discuss the F-16 fighter jets sale to Türkiye with US Secretary of State Blinken.

Türkiye hailed the recent US move to exclude certain provisions in the final text of the US defense budget on the sale of F-16s to Ankara. Amendments introduced in the US House of Representatives, as well as making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions, were removed in the final defense spending bill.

Ankara requested F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6-billion deal would include the sale of 40 jets, as well as modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force already has in its inventory.

Haavisto, claiming that Sweden is also doing its best in the fight against terrorism, said that from Finland's point of view, there are also proposals about Helsinki and Stockholm to apply for NATO membership separately, but concerning "security planning and defense planning of NATO, it is very difficult to take Sweden out from the map and plan, for example, the Finnish defense without Sweden."

Last May, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by the Moscow-Kyiv war that started in February 2022.

But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK.

Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum to address Ankara’s legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

Türkiye has praised some steps taken by Sweden and Finland but says the countries need to do more to show their firm stance against terrorism and terror groups that threaten Türkiye.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Source: Anadolu Agency