Finland and Sweden allegedly are determined to become full members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, dropping decades of full or observant neutrality regarding the powerful neighbor Russia and its current leader Vladimir Putin.
However such incorporations need the unanimous support from all NATO members but apparently Turkey does not have a positive opinion of the Scandinavian countries ambition of joining the military alliance.
Furthermore Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday outlined demands regarding such memberships. Speaking with Turkish reporters after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, he said that Sweden and Finland must stop supporting terrorists in their countries, provide clear security guarantees and lift export bans on Turkey.
According to Cavusoglu, Turkey was not threatening anybody or seeking leverage but speaking out especially about Sweden's support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Ankara views the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Cavusoglu echoed an earlier statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who accused both countries of harboring terrorist organizations.
Turkey has long accused Nordic countries, especially Sweden, of harboring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based preacher wanted over a failed 2016 coup.
Sweden, in particular, has a large immigrant community that hails from Turkey. Many of the migrants are of Kurdish origin and some have been granted political asylum after decades of sporadic conflict between Kurdish groups and Turkish security forces.
Meanwhile in Helsinki, Finland confirmed on Sunday that it would apply for NATO membership. This is a historic day. A new era is opening, Finnish President Sauli Niinistro told a joint news conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Niinisto said he agreed with the government and consulted with the parliament before announcing the decision. The Finnish parliament is expected to green light the decision in the coming days.
Niinisto also said he was a bit confused about what he said was a shift in Turkey's stance. What we need now is a very clear answer, I am prepared to have a new discussion with President Erdogan about the problems he has raised.