Turkey’s President tells NATO chief Sweden and Finland should handle Ankara’s issues earlier than it may help their membership bid.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday mentioned Ankara wouldn’t look “positively” on Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids until its issues have been addressed, regardless of broad help from different allies, together with america.
Turkey has lengthy accused Nordic international locations, specifically Sweden which has a robust Turkish immigrant neighborhood, of harbouring outlawed Kurdish rebels in addition to supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher wished over the failed 2016 coup.
Erdogan’s opposition has thrown a significant potential impediment in the best way of the probably membership bids from the hitherto militarily non-aligned Nordic nations since a consensus is required in NATO choices.
“Except Sweden and Finland clearly present that they’ll stand in solidarity with Turkey on elementary points, particularly within the combat towards terrorism, we won’t method these international locations’ NATO membership positively,” Erdogan informed NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in a cellphone name, in line with the presidency.
On Twitter, Stoltenberg mentioned he spoke with Erdogan “of our valued ally” on the significance of “NATO’s Open Door”.
“We agree that the safety issues of all Allies should be taken under consideration and talks must proceed to discover a answer,” he mentioned.
On Thursday, Stoltenberg mentioned Turkey’s “issues” have been being addressed to seek out “an settlement on transfer ahead”.
Erdogan speaks to leaders of Sweden and Finland
Erdogan, who refused to host delegations from Sweden and Finland in Turkey, held separate cellphone calls with the 2 international locations’ leaders – Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson – on Saturday, urging them to desert monetary and political help for “terrorist” teams threatening his nation’s nationwide safety.
Erdogan known as upon Sweden to elevate defensive weapons export restrictions it imposed on Turkey over Turkey’s 2019 incursion into northern Syria, a Turkish presidential assertion mentioned.
The Turkish chief additionally mentioned he anticipated Stockholm to take “concrete and critical steps” towards the Kurdish Employees’ Occasion, or PKK, and different teams which Ankara views as “terrorists”.
Andersson tweeted that Sweden seemed “ahead to strengthening our bilateral relations, together with on peace, safety, and the combat towards terrorism”.
The PKK has waged a revolt towards the Turkish state since 1984 and is blacklisted as a “terrorist organisation” by Turkey and Western allies just like the European Union – which incorporates Finland and Sweden.
Erdogan informed End President Sauli Niinisto “that an understanding that ignores terrorist organisations that pose a menace to an ally inside NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance”, the assertion added.
In return, Niinisto praised “an open and direct cellphone name” with Erdogan.
“I acknowledged that as NATO allies Finland and Turkey will commit to one another’s safety and our relationship will thus develop stronger,” he tweeted.
“Finland condemns terrorism in all its types and manifestations. Shut dialogue continues.”
Sweden and Finland, whereas solidly Western, have traditionally saved a distance from NATO as a part of longstanding insurance policies aimed toward avoiding angering Russia.
However the two nations moved forward with their membership bid in shock over their big neighbour’s invasion of Ukraine, which had unsuccessfully sought to affix NATO.
On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson visited Washington, the place they spoke with US President Joe Biden about their bids to affix NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Biden mentioned “Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger”, and supplied the “full, complete, full backing of america of America”.