ANKARA, February 27. /TASS/. Sweden has not made any big strides in the sphere of fighting terrorism within the framework of a memorandum signed with Turkey for its NATO bid to be approved by Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto in the Turkish capital on Monday.
"Unfortunately, on the part of Sweden, there were no convincing steps in the sphere of counterterrorism within the framework of the signed memorandum. A third meeting between [the representatives] of Turkey, Sweden and Finland will be held in Brussels on March 9. We think that it is useful to hold it precisely there so that all our friends in NATO will see the progress on implementing the memorandum for themselves and that so far, Sweden has not yet fulfilled its obligations," he said.
The Turkish top diplomat explained that "the Swedish authorities introduced a number of amendments to the constitution and anti-terrorism legislation which are meant to thwart the financing of terrorist organizations, the expansion of their activity and the recruitment of new members." "However, despite the introduced legislative changes, these organizations continue to be active in Sweden in the same way without any changes," he noted, adding that Turkey had no particular issues with Finland in the context of its aspiration to join NATO but "at this moment, it is impossible to approve Sweden’s application."
With regards to the meetings between Turkey, Sweden and Finland, Cavusoglu stressed that these "are not negotiations between the countries." "These meetings are held for coordination, in order for the sides to see progress in implementing the provisions of the signed memorandum, what was done and what still remains to be done. In order to understand at which stage the process is," he specified. The Turkish foreign minister added that Turkey does not have unsolvable problems with Sweden and Finland, "these countries are not Turkey’s enemies but there are a number of issues which require settling.".