Turkey will not allow “terrorist supporters” to join NATO

Sweden and have not yet addressed Ankara’s security requirements, says President Erdogan

Ankara will not approve the two Nordic states’ applications to join until they properly address ’s concerns over their alleged support to terrorist organizations, President Recep Erdogan has said and promised not to repeat “past mistakes.”

“As long as Tayyip Erdogan is the head of the Republic of Turkey, we can definitely not say ‘yes’ to that support terrorism entering NATO.” The leader told reporters when he returned from a trip to Azerbaijan, according to state media reports on Sunday.

Delegations from Sweden and Finland met their Turkish counterparts in Ankara for talks last week, following their joint applications to join NATO’s alliance. Their accession requires the unanimous consent of all 30 member states, and Turkey has threatened to block the process unless the two countries strike at groups they consider terrorists.

“They are not honest or sincere,” Erdogan said about the results of the talks so far. “They do not take the necessary measures, they still allow the terrorists to walk the streets of freely and provide security for them with their police.”

“We can not repeat the same mistakes we made in the past against these countries that protect and feed these terrorists,” he added. He referred to a separate long-running feud with over Cyprus, recalling how Ankara in 1980 “let Greece return” after its partial withdrawal from NATO.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has previously acknowledged that Finland and Sweden are unlikely to become NATO candidate members if they do not meet Turkey’s requirements. “No country has suffered as much from terrorist attacks as Turkey.” Stoltenberg on Thursday and added that Turkey is one “important ally and when an ally has concerns it should be discussed and the problem resolved.”

Turkey demands that Sweden and Finland lift arms export restrictions on Turkey, and extradite people affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement (FETO). While Sweden and Finland both regard the PKK as a terrorist organization, Ankara wants the same term to be applied to the YPG and the PYD, the Kurdish military and the political groups in Syria, respectively.

The two Nordic states both decided to break with their history of neutrality on 15 May, citing Russia’s military operation in that motivated them to join NATO. Their candidacy for membership was welcomed by Washington and its European NATO allies, but Turkey and Croatia have threatened to block applications unless their national security concerns are addressed.

has called Swedish and Finnish applications a “serious mistake with long-term consequences” but has stated that their NATO aspirations were still less worrying than those of Ukraine, whose potential territorial claims could constitute “great risks for the whole continent” if it was accepted in the block.

Turkey has taken a neutral stance in the conflict, maintained relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has refused to accede to Western sanctions against Moscow, and is seeking to take on the role of mediator in the conflict. The Turkish president had announced talks with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, to “to encourage the two parties to maintain channels of dialogue and diplomacy.”

Source: sn.dk

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