President Erdogan warned that Turkey would not agree to NATO membership of Finland and Sweden.
“We will say ‘no’ to countries applying sanctions against Turkey join the NATO security organization,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 16.
Sweden suspended all arms exports to Turkey from 2019 after it launched a military operation in Syria.
Mention the delegation’s intention to meet with Turkish officials Finland and Sweden, President Erdogan said “they said they would go to Turkey on May 16. Can they convince us? Sorry, they shouldn’t bother us”.
Sweden and Finland announced that they will apply to join NATO after Russia launched a military campaign to “demilitarize and de-fascist Ukraine“.
However, Turkey threatened to prevent NATO from admitting the two Nordic countries, and accused them of harboring groups that Ankara considers terrorists. Among these, there are Kurdish fighters who have been blacklisted by Turkey, the European Union (EU) and the US.
“Neither countries have a clear stance against terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said. A source at the Turkish Ministry of Justice said Switzerland and Finland have not responded positively to 33 extradition requests in the past 5 years.
Turkey is looking for people accused of having links to Kurdish fighters or members of the movement plotting to overthrow President Erdogan in 2016. Turkey has repeatedly criticized Sweden for “showing leniency.” with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly affirmed that the alliance will “welcome” Sweden and Finland with open arms. However, President Erdogan’s statements are the first dissenting reaction within NATO to the prospect of Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance.
When a country applies to join NATO, it needs to get approval from the 30 existing members to renew the invitation, then hold membership negotiations. The decision to admit a new member must be approved by all members.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 15 expressed confidence that Sweden and Finland would join NATO despite Turkey’s concerns. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to meet Blinken in Washington, D.C., on May 18 and is expected to raise Anakra’s objections during the talks.
Nguyen Tien (According to AFP)
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