Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he will not approve Sweden and Finland obtaining NATO membership, state news agency Anadolu reported.
The Swedish ministry of foreign affairs announced on Monday that senior representatives from Helsinki and Stockholm will travel “soon” to Turkey to discuss Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership.
However, Erdogan said the diplomats should not bother coming to Turkey to try to convince Ankara to approve their NATO bids.
“First of all, we would not say ‘yes’ to those who impose sanctions on Turkey to join NATO, a security organization, during this process,” Erdogan said. “Neither country has an open, clear stance against terrorist organizations,” he added, describing Sweden as an “incubation center for terrorist organizations.”
“They have special invitations to terrorists. They even have pro PKK MPs in their parliaments. How are we going to trust them?” Erdogan added, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Ankara designates as a terrorist organization.
The two Nordic countries confirmed officially that they will seek NATO membership, ending decades of military nonalignment in an historic move driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey declared last week it had objections to the two countries joining NATO, accusing them of supporting Kurdish militants whom Ankara considers to be terrorists, and failing to extradite dozens of suspected “terrorists”.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday: “Countries supporting terrorism should not be allies in NATO,” Anadolu reported. He added that Turkey demanded both Finland and Sweden “stop supporting terror groups.”