ISTANBUL (Reuters) -Ankara observed a positive attitude towards lifting of an arms exports embargo during talks with delegations from NATO applicants Finland and Sweden, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
“We have seen a positive attitude towards lifting of embargo regarding defence industry products during this meeting, this is a pleasing development,” Ibrahim Kalin said.
Sweden and Finland had banned arms exports to Turkey after its Syria incursion against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Ankara considers the group identical to PKK.
In a news conference following the talks, Kalin also said Turkey’s terrorism concerns and expectations about concrete steps to address them were conveyed to counterparts.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday, following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey surprised NATO allies last week by objecting to the two countries’ membership, saying they harbour people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.
All 30 NATO states must give their approval before a new member can be admitted and thus benefit from the collective-security guarantee.
In 2019, Ankara received little international backing for its plans to build a safe zone in northern Syria, including settling 1 million Syrians in part of northeast Syria that Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies seized from the YPG.
(Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by David Gregorio)