Deal with Nordic states just a beginning: Erdoğan

Deal with Nordic states just a beginning: Erdoğan

Deal with Nordic states just a beginning: Erdoğan

The deal Türkiye, Sweden and Finland agreed in Madrid is just the beginning of the two Nordic states’ process to join NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, underlining that Ankara will closely follow the implementation of the promises outlined in the document in regard to the intensified fight against terror.

“Of course, promises are important, but for us, the implementation is more important. We are moving cautiously as a country that has been stabbed in the back heaps of times in its fight against terrorism. We will, therefore, follow very closely whether these words are kept,” Erdoğan told reporters on his return from Spain following the NATO leaders’ summit.

Türkiye lifted its objections to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the alliance after they formally agreed to fight against the presence and activities of the terror organizations on their lands. This includes the PKK, its Syrian offshoot, the YPG, and FETÖ, responsible for the failed coup attempt in 2016.

“In addition, the trilateral memorandum we signed with Sweden and Finland will also guide our allies in terms of solidarity against terrorism. Afterward, it will be much more difficult for members of the PKK and FETÖ to conduct terrorist propaganda, attack our citizens, threaten people and vandalize the cities,” he said.

There is a need for time to see to what extent the items of the memorandum will enter into force, Erdoğan said, adding, “But we should also know that the fact that this document is signed does not mean that the process is over. I guess some are worried about it. No, nothing is over yet. This is an invitation that launches a process. It is not sure how long it will last.”

Erdoğan suggested that the terror organizations such as the PKK, PYD/YPG and FETÖ are now mentioned in the NATO documents and it shows Türkiye is on the right track, informing that he made a presentation about disruptive activities of the terror organization by featuring a video produced by the Communications Directorate as well. “That video had an impact on them,” he noted.

On a question, Erdoğan reiterated that the final approval for these countries’ accession to the alliance is in the hands of the Turkish Parliament, stressing that the ball is in the court of Sweden and Finland in terms of implementing the deal.

“Although the opposition tried to overshadow it, the NATO Summit was a great diplomatic victory for Türkiye. This fact is affirmed not only by our interlocutors but also by everyone with a mind, conscience and minimum diplomacy knowledge,” he stated.

 Sweden extradited three terrorists

The Swedish authorities have already extradited at least three terrorists, but this is not enough for Türkiye, he suggested, informing that Stockholm pledged to send 73 suspects in the coming period.

“Our justice, foreign ministries, as well as our National Intelligence Organization, will closely follow and tell [Sweden] to send these terrorists. These are our demands. If they are not extradited, then we will do whatever necessary through our institutions,” he said.

Türkiye to follow balanced policy

On a question about the harsh rhetoric by NATO against Russia and its implications on Türkiye’s relationship with this country, Erdoğan said the Turkish government will continue to pursue a balanced approach in the coming period.

“Because we have certain ties with Russia. We purchase 40 percent of our natural gas from them. In the meantime, we are working with them for the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant,” he said, citing all of them as connecting the two states. “Thus, we will continue our ties with both Russia and Ukraine through a balanced policy. We do not want our diplomatic traffic to be affected from [the war].”

Erdoğan raised YPG support in meeting with Biden

Before his departure to Madrid on June 28, Erdoğan said he will discuss the continued military support of the United States to the YPG in northern Syria in his meeting with President Joe Biden when they meet in person on the sidelines of the summit. On a question, Erdoğan confirmed that he sure raised the issue to Biden, saying, “I told him that thousands of trucks brought weapons, equipment and ammunition here starting from the Trump administration, and now we will discuss terrorism here. How can we, allies, be in solidarity at NATO while all these weapons and equipment are being given [to a terror organization] attacking Türkiye?”

NATO leaders sought to reconcile Turkish, Greek leaders

Meanwhile, leaders of some prominent NATO countries exerted efforts for reconciling the Turkish and Greek leaders, Erdoğan has said, stressing he did not want to do that given the continued Greek provocations.

“Many leaders tried to make peace between us. But we don’t think such a thing now,” Erdoğan told reporters following Friday Prayer in Istanbul on July 1. He said he will re-evaluate his stance in accordance with the developments.

Türkiye and Greece are at odds after the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged the U.S. congressmen not to sell F-16 warplanes to Türkiye. Erdoğan slammed Mitsotakis for his anti-Turkish lobbying efforts and said he canceled an upcoming high-level cooperation meeting with Greece.

“We have no desire to stage a war with Greece. We don’t want war with Greece. But Greece does not keep its word,” he said.

Recalling that the Greek air force violated Turkish airspace in the Aegean 147 times, Erdoğan said “If we are neighbors, if we want to live in friendship and peace why did you violate our airspace 147 times? If you do this, then our armed forces does its job and reiterates.”

In his interview with the reporters on his return from Spain, Erdoğan criticized Mitsotakis for not having a good will for improving ties with Türkiye. “If he had good will, then he would not take such steps. No offense, but if he continues to act like that, we won’t realize the High-Level Strategic Council meeting. He should pull himself together. If not, it is impossible for us to meet.”