Erdoğan told reporters on Friday that he would continue to oppose Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO unless Turkey’s demands were met.
"We will, of course, continue all these discussions so that diplomacy is not interrupted." he said.
Ambassador of Turkey to Sweden Emre Yunttold the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that Turkey "wants to solve problems" which have led to the stalemate in the accession negotiations between Finland and Sweden.
In an interview with Aftonbladet Yunt, released on Friday, outlined three key obstacles to allowing Turkey to continue the accession process: Western support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the National Defense Forces (YPG) in northern Syria, an arms embargo. Refusal by Turkey and the Finnish and Swedish authorities to extradite a total of 33 people to Turkey.
Despite these requested concessions, Yunt noted that informal talks between Turkey and Sweden are taking place through various channels, while the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said on Thursday that discussions are also taking place between Finland and Turkey.
"No one in Sweden has spoken to the Turkish president. Our Foreign Minister warned Sweden that there may be regulations [for membership]," Yunt told Aftonbladet.
This week, the Yle News podcast All Points North looked at Turkey’s motives in its efforts to prevent Finland and Sweden from joining NATO.
Turkey: Swedish support for YPG is a problem
Yunt also stated in an interview with Aftonbladet that Sweden is arming YPG in northern Syria, on the Turkish border. Several Western countries have supported the Kurds in the region in their fight against Isis.
However, Turkey has said that the YPG is in fact a branch of the PKK and considers both to be terrorist organizations. However, the European Union only lists the PKK as a terrorist group.
Erdoğan has previously described Finland and Sweden as countries arming and hiding terrorists, and the Turkish media has reported that Sweden is arming the PKK.
Yunt told Aftonbladet that ending Western support for Kurdish groups is Turkey’s most important demand and therefore the biggest obstacle to supporting Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership.
"Sweden supports the YPG financially and with arms. These forces are attacking the Turkish army in northern Syria on a daily basis. We have confirmed that they have Swedish weapons," Yunt said.
Yunt denied that Turkey had acted on behalf of Russia in blocking accession talks.
"We don’t do anyone else’s things. We take care of Turkey," He answered.
He added that Turkey is not ready to grant demands, even if other NATO members support Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in the alliance.
"We want to solve the problems, but if Sweden stays the same, we will not be any closer." Yunt said.
Source: The Nordic Page