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Sweden ‘deliberately’ endangering its NATO bid by allowing terrorist provocations: Turkish top diplomat

Stockholm is "deliberately" stepping on mines laid out by terrorists on its path to NATO membership, the Turkish foreign minister said on Saturday, referring to recent terrorist provocations in Sweden.

"Terrorist organizations are laying mines ... and Sweden is deliberately stepping on them. They can clear them if they want," Cavusoglu said in the southern Turkish province of Antalya.

On provocations of terrorist groups targeting Türkiye and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sweden, Cavusoglu said: "It is for Sweden to decide whether to clear the mines or step on them. If you step on them, they will explode."

Terrorist organizations are "roaming in your country," he said, adding that if Sweden fulfills its commitments made in a tripartite memorandum for NATO accession, "we will sit down, talk and keep our word."

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups including the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Türkiye.

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

In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terror groups such as the PKK and its offshoots, and FETO, and to extradite terror suspects to Türkiye, among other steps.

But Turkish officials say the countries, particularly Sweden, have yet to take the necessary steps against terrorism.

Talks on the Nordic membership bids stalled after recent provocative demonstrations and Quran burnings in Stockholm.

Ankara has also hinted at considering Finland’s NATO membership application separately from that of Sweden.

Consulate closures

Criticizing the recent closure of some Western consulates in Istanbul, the top diplomat said: "If you do not take a step back, we will take the necessary steps" by summoning ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry.

"They say they received information on security threats. If you do not share the information with us, we look for the intent behind this and we know that these actions are deliberate," Cavusoglu said.

"We even know that some ambassadors are calling others to join the move. We summoned them to the ministry. We have made the necessary warnings. We said that we know what you want to do, and you are trying to show Türkiye as unstable," he said.

Cavusoglu's remarks came a day after Türkiye summoned ambassadors of Western countries, including the US, to criticize their decision to temporarily shut diplomatic missions and issue security alerts following recent burnings in Europe of Islam's holy book the Quran.

The ambassadors of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK were also summoned to the Foreign Ministry, according to Turkish diplomatic sources, who were told that such simultaneous acts do not show a proportional and prudent approach, but instead serve the "insidious agenda of terrorist groups."

Source: Anadolu Agency