Finnish Defense Minister travels to Ankara news. Last Minute EUROPE, CURRENT, TURKEY headlines and events

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The Finnish Defense Minister, who expects Turkey to support NATO membership, is traveling to Ankara this week.

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen will meet with National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday 8 December in Ankara, according to a statement from the Ministry of National Defense.

The meeting is expected to discuss bilateral issues of defense and security, as well as the process of Finland’s accession to NATO.

Assessing Finland’s NATO membership, Akar said that Turkey has no problem with NATO’s open door policy, but Turkey’s sensitivity should be respected.

Noting that NATO is a security organization, Akar said: “Terrorism is one of NATO’s biggest struggles. Terrorism is now a serious problem for all countries. Turkey is the only country fighting more than one terrorist organization. This needs to be seen and awareness raised about what we are doing on this issue.”

“We are waiting for concrete steps”

Recalling that during the Madrid summit in June, a tripartite memorandum was signed on the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO, Akar said:

“The memorandum is clear. There are commitments signed by Sweden and Finland. We declare that they must be fulfilled. Please note that this memorandum is the beginning, not the end. After they are completed, the decision will be made by Parliament. We are trying to help Sweden and Finland.” At the same time, we are closely monitoring the situation in Sweden and Finland. Unfortunately, we are sad to see that some provocative actions and images continue in these countries. We expect that Sweden, and Finland to take concrete steps.”

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but faced opposition from Turkey.

Turkey has not approved NATO membership bids, accusing both countries of harboring terrorists from the PKK and other groups.

The application of Finland and Sweden to join NATO has so far been approved by 28 of NATO’s 30 members. Hungary is expected to ratify the membership of Sweden and Finland in February.

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