Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come out against allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO, jeopardizing the hopes of the two Nordic countries to join the Western military alliance.
In a move that could undermine Turkey’s efforts to strengthen ties with the US and Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Erdogan – whose country has been a member of NATO since 1952 – said on Friday that he could not take a “positive stance” on the potential of the two nations Membership suggestions.
The obstacle was their support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was run by a A decades-old armed revolt Against the Turkish state, he said. It is classified as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. The President of Turkey has also appointed a far-left group.
“The Scandinavian countries are like a kind of guesthouse for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan told reporters, referring to the Nordic countries. “They’re even in parliament.”
He added: “At this point, it is not possible for us to look at it positively.”
Some Swedish officials and MPs feared that Turkey might be the most dangerous opposition to a potential NATO proposal, which appears to be supported by most of the other 29 members of the alliance but requires unanimous support.
“There are a lot of Kurds in Sweden, there are a lot of MPs with a Kurdish background, Sweden has been active on the Kurdish issue – I fear there could be a backlash,” a senior Swedish official said earlier this month.
Finnish and Swedish diplomats have crossed Europe and the Atlantic to please NATO members, whose ratification is necessary for membership.
German Foreign Minister Annalna Barbock said on Saturday that Sweden and Finland are strong countries in terms of their defense capabilities “and for this reason alone their contribution will make NATO stronger”.
“Sweden and Finland are also stable democracies that have lived in peace with all their neighbors for decades,” she said. “And for this reason every democratic state should rejoice that democracies with strong defense capabilities will in this way make our defense alliance stronger.”
Russia has threatened “serious military and political consequences” if one of the countries joins NATO, and on Friday said it would suspend electricity exports to Finland because it had not been paid.
Ann Linda, Sweden’s foreign minister, told Swedish Radio on Friday that Turkey might try to use the membership impulse to get something it wants. “We know that ratification processes always involve uncertainty, no less than ratification can be used for domestic politics,” she added.
Pekka Haavisto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, patiently urged and said: “You can expect everything in the application process…. Let us take problems step by step.”
Some Finnish officials said that Turkey’s problems were seen mainly with Sweden and that their discussions with Ankara were positive.
Officials in Finland particularly focused on Hungary, which feared it might seek concessions in order to ratify their membership.
Finnish President Sauli Nienisto spoke with Erdogan on April 4, describing the phone call as “positive”. On Twitter She adds: “Turkey supports Finland’s goals.”
Niinistö said on Friday evening that he and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson had spoken with US President Joe Biden, including about Finland’s next steps towards NATO membership. “Finland greatly appreciates all the support needed from the United States,” the president added.
NATO officials said they expect Finland and Sweden to become officially invited within “two weeks”, but it could take six to 12 months for all 30 existing members to approve their requests.
The Finnish government will meet on Sunday with President Niinistö to conclude the country’s request. On the same day, Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats will announce their position ahead of a government announcement next week. Countries can choose to send their requests to NATO jointly next week during a state-run visit by Niinistö to Stockholm.
Turkey has suffered in recent years from strained relations with NATO allies. The United States Imposed sanctions In 2020 as revenge for Erdogan’s decision to buy and receive delivery of a Russian-made S-400 air defense system.
Western countries gained Turkey’s support for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, when Ankara supplied armed UAVs to Kiev and took steps to restrict the passage of Russian warships and military aircraft through its airspace – even though it refused to register for the West. Sanctions against Moscow.
Another report by Guy Hazan in Berlin.
Turkey’s president objects to Finland and Sweden’s Nato applications Source link Turkey’s president objects to Finland and Sweden’s Nato applications