Erdogan talks with Stoltenberg on Finnish, Swedish NATO bids | NATO News

Turkey’s president has told NATO leaders Sweden and Finland that Ankara’s concerns must be addressed before their applications for membership can be supported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara would not view Sweden and Finland’s NATO applications “positively” unless it received broad support from other allies, including the United States , unless its concerns are addressed.

Turkey has long accused the Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, which has a strong Turkish immigrant community, of harboring illegal Kurdish insurgents and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the American missionary wanted for his failed 2016 coup.

Erdogan’s opposition poses a major potential hurdle for possible membership applications for the so far military-unaligned Nordic countries, as NATO decisions require consensus.

“Unless Sweden and Finland make it clear that they will be in solidarity with Turkey on fundamental issues, especially in the fight against terrorism, we will not actively approach NATO membership of these countries,” Erdogan told the NATO secretary by phone Jens Stoltenberg. to the Presidential Palace.

Stoltenberg tweeted that he spoke with “our valuable ally” Erdogan about the importance of “opening NATO’s doors.”

“We agree that the security concerns of all allies must be considered and that a negotiated solution needs to continue,” he said.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg said Turkey’s “concerns” were being addressed to find “a deal on how to move forward.”

Erdogan talks to Swedish and Finnish leaders

Erdogan, who refused to host the Swedish and Finnish delegations in Turkey, held separate phone calls on Saturday with their leaders — Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersen — urging them to drop the terrorists’ financial and political support. “The group threatens the national security of his country.

Erdogan called on Sweden to lift restrictions on the export of defensive weapons to Turkey in response to Turkey’s 2019 invasion of northern Syria, the Turkish president said in a statement.

The Turkish leader also said he wanted Stockholm to take “concrete and serious steps” against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other groups deemed “terrorists” by Ankara.

Anderson tweeted that Sweden looked forward to “strengthening our bilateral relationship, including on peace, security and combating terrorism.”

The PKK has waged a rebellion against the Turkish state since 1984 and is listed as a “terrorist organization” by Turkey and Western allies including the European Union, including Finland and Sweden.

Erdogan told Finnish President Sauli Niinistö that “ignoring the understanding of terrorist groups that pose a threat to allies within NATO is not in the spirit of friendship and alliance,” the statement added.

In return, Niinisto praised the “open and direct phone call” with Erdogan.

“I say that as NATO allies Finland and Turkey are committed to each other’s security, so our relationship will become stronger,” he tweeted.

“Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The close dialogue continues.”

Sweden and Finland, while staunchly Western nations, have historically distanced themselves from NATO as part of a long-standing policy aimed at avoiding angering Russia.

However, the two countries continued to apply to join NATO without success, despite the invasion of Ukraine by their huge neighbours.

Niinisto and Anderson visited Washington on Thursday, where they discussed with U.S. President Joe Biden their proposal to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Finland and Sweden have made NATO stronger,” Biden said, adding that “the United States fully, fully, and completely supports it.”

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