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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Erdogan calls Sweden and Finland terror-supporting nations, to block their entry into NATO

Turkey will not allow “terrorism-supporting” countries to join the NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, underlining the talks with Sweden and Finland on their intention to join the military alliance have not yielded results.

Last week’s negotiations with Finnish and Swedish delegations in Turkey’s capital Ankara were not at the “expected level”, Erdogan told journalists.

“They have expectations, but they did not take the necessary steps regarding Turkey,” Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying.

On the contrary, they kept on the activities which Turkey has been criticising, he added.

“As long as Tayyip Erdogan is the head of the Republic of Turkey, we definitely cannot say ‘yes’ to countries, which ‘support terrorism’, entering NATO.”

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week following the Russia-Ukraine conflict that erupted in February.

NATO allies, except for Turkey, have welcomed the two countries’ proposals.

Accession of new member states requires consensus among existing NATO members.

Ankara, however, citing the Swedish and Finnish ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other anti-Turkey groups, objected to their entry into the alliance.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Ankara government for more than three decades.

Turkey also accuses the two countries of harbouring members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara says is behind a failed military coup attempt in 2016.

Turkey demanded “concrete assurances” from Sweden and Finland for “termination of support” to these groups, and requested the lifting of arms sanctions against Ankara.

A joint Swedish-Finnish delegation held talks in Ankara with Turkish officials and diplomats last week in an attempt to resolve the disputes.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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