Finland is ready to assure Turkey that the Nordic state's connections with the PKK Kurdish terror group will be monitored more closely, Anadolu has reported. Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto made the announcement on Sunday in an interview on local broadcaster Yle.
"We can certainly give such guarantees to Turkey," explained Haavisto. "Since the PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation in Europe, it's important that we do our part not to allow any preparations for terrorist activity on Finnish soil."
Helsinki and Ankara, said the minister, could resolve issues related to Finland's NATO application, but predicted that it may take a few weeks. "A few days ago I said that this would at least be a matter of days. So just to be cautious, one could now say that it will be a matter of weeks. I am optimistic that the problems will be solved, but it may take some time."
His remarks come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on the phone. Erdogan said that ignoring terrorist organisations that pose a threat to a NATO ally is not compatible with the "spirit of friendship and alliance."
He added that it is Turkey's "most natural right" to expect respect and support for its legitimate and determined struggle against what remains a clear threat to its national security and people.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last Wednesday, a decision spurred on by Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine, which began in February. However, longstanding NATO member Turkey has voiced its objections to the bids, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
In the 35-plus years of its terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women and children.