Turkey’s President tells NATO chief Sweden and Finland should tackle Ankara’s issues earlier than it might assist 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 assist from different allies, together with the USA.
Turkey has lengthy accused Nordic international locations, particularly Sweden which has a powerful Turkish immigrant neighborhood, of harbouring outlawed Kurdish rebels in addition to supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher needed over the failed 2016 coup.
Erdogan’s opposition has thrown a serious 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 selections.
“Until Sweden and Finland clearly present that they are going to stand in solidarity with Turkey on elementary points, particularly within the struggle towards terrorism, we won’t method these international locations’ NATO membership positively,” Erdogan instructed NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in a telephone name, in accordance 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 have to 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 search out “an settlement on how one can transfer ahead”.
Erdogan speaks to leaders of Sweden and Finland
Erdogan, who refused to host delegations from Sweden and Finland in Turkey, held separate telephone 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 assist for “terrorist” teams threatening his nation’s nationwide safety.
Erdogan referred to 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 severe steps” towards the Kurdish Employees’ Celebration, 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 struggle towards terrorism”.
The PKK has waged a rebel 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 instructed End President Sauli Niinisto “that an understanding that ignores terrorist organisations that pose a risk 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 telephone name” with Erdogan.
“I said 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 varieties 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 provided the “full, whole, full backing of the USA of America”.