By Sarp Ozer
ANKARA (AA) - Türkiye expects Sweden and Finland to take "concrete steps" to become NATO members as terror propaganda in these countries is still ongoing, the national defense minister said on Tuesday.
"We are closely following the situation in Sweden and Finland. Unfortunately, we still see some provocative actions and images in these countries. We expect both Sweden and Finland to take concrete steps," Akar told reporters.
Akar's remarks came ahead of his meeting with Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen on Thursday. During talks in the capital Ankara, Akar and Kaikkonen will discuss bilateral defense and security issues, as well as Finland's NATO membership process.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war against Ukraine.
But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections to their membership bids, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum in June at a NATO summit to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.
"There are commitments signed by Sweden and Finland ... they must be fulfilled ... the memorandum is a beginning, not an end. After these are done, the Turkish parliament will make its decision. We are also trying to help Sweden and Finland," Akar added.
Türkiye does not have a problem with NATO's open door policy, but the country's sensitivities should be respected, he stressed.
"Terrorism is one of NATO's biggest areas of struggle. Terrorism is a serious problem for all countries right now. Türkiye is the only country fighting more than one terrorist organization. This needs to be seen and the awareness of what we do on this issue needs to be increased," Akar added.
* Writing by Diyar Guldogan