Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says will not open the NATO door to the two Nordic countries unless Ankara’s demands are met.
Today, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey planned to reject the two nations’ bids to join the alliance, after having accused them earlier of being “like guesthouses for terror organisations.”
“We told relevant friends that we will say no to Sweden’s and Finland’s entry into NATO and continue our path like that,” he said during a conference with students in Ankara.
- Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday at Allied headquarters in Brussels, driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision represents a setback for Moscow, with the war in Ukraine triggering the kind of enlargement of the alliance that it invaded Ukraine to prevent.
- All 30 NATO members must unanimously give the green light for the two historically neutral countries to join the alliance. Sweden and Finland recently announced their intention to join NATO in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Erdogan accused the two countries of harbouring members of the separatist militant Kurdistan’s Workers Party, PKK which seeks an independent state in Turkey and has been in an armed struggle with that country for decades. Kurdistan’s Workers Party has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
In response, the Finnish foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, said that while he was surprised at Turkey’s stance, he did not want to “bargain” with Ankara.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Saturday that her country, just like the rest of the EU, considered PKK a terrorist organization. The government has said it is ready to iron out any obstacles in talks with Turkey.
Erdogan also targeted Stockholm in his remarks for its arms sanctions against Turkey. Sweden has frozen arms sales to Turkey since 2019 over Ankara’s military operation in neighbouring Syria.