‘A large amount of Turkish people, ordinary citizens, have lost their lives in terrorist attacks,’ says Sauli Niinisto.
Türkiye’s concerns on terrorism need to be taken “seriously,” Finland’s president said Wednesday amid Helsinki’s NATO membership bid.
“A large amount of Turkish people, ordinary citizens, have lost their lives in terrorist attacks,” Sauli Niinisto said in an official presidential statement.
“Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and works actively to prevent it. Finland’s approach and deeds in fighting terrorism are already now fully aligned with the general line of NATO countries,” including the terrorism that Türkiye is facing, Niinisto added.
“Also in this respect, the conditions of our membership are met,” he said.
Recalling his visit to Türkiye in 2015 after twin suicide bombings by the Daesh/ISIS terror group in the capital Ankara’s main train station, the Finnish president said: “We could at close range follow the aftermath of an attack in Ankara; then we wanted to show our compassion to the loved ones of the victims and to condemn the act.”
The bloodiest terror attack of Turkish history — carried out by Daesh/ISIS on Oct. 10, 2015 in the Turkish capital — killed over 100 people and seriously injured 391 others.
Touching on the importance of the continued dialogue with Türkiye, Niinisto said: “In Finland, an amendment of the criminal code came into force this year. It expands and makes stricter the punishable scope of terrorism crimes.
“I also want to stress that when Finland respects the international human rights principles and the laws that have been derived from them, it is in no way in contradiction with effective counter-terrorism measures,” he added.
He went on to say: “I can naturally not state the positions of Sweden, but according to my understanding our approaches are quite similar.”
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began Feb. 24.
But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups such as the PKK/YPG and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group responsible for a failed 2016 coup in Türkiye.
All membership applications must be met by unanimity in the 30-member alliance to be successful.