Turkey not in favor of Finland, Sweden’s admission to NATO: Erdoğan

Turkey not in favor of Finland, Sweden’s admission to NATO: Erdoğan

Turkey not in favor of Finland, Sweden’s admission to NATO: Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 13 that Turkey was not in favor of the plans by Sweden and Finland to join NATO, saying that the two countries were “home to many terrorist organizations.”

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland carefully, but we are not in a positive mindset,” Erdoğan told reporters.

The previous governments in Turkey made a “wrong” decision in accepting the NATO membership of Greece, the president said. “And you know the attitude of Greece against Turkey with NATO behind it. As Turkey, we do not want to commit the second mistake in this regard,” he added.

“Moreover, the Scandinavian countries, unfortunately, are almost like guesthouses for terrorist organizations. PKK, DHKP-C are nested in the Netherlands and Sweden. I go further, they also take part in the parliaments there. It is not possible for us to have a positive look,” Erdoğan stated.

Elaborating on the meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House on May 16, Erdoğan said, “We will take our stance after seeing everything, especially after we have seen Biden’s statements.”

Erdoğan also spoke about the statement from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Foreign Assets Office (OFAC) that investments can be made in the northeast and northwest of Syria under YPG occupation without being subject to sanctions.

“The YPG is what the PKK is. It is not possible for us to accept this mistake of America,” he said and noted that all the recent U.S. administrations have given all kinds of financial support to the YPG in northern Syria.

“Although we told these to all the incoming administrations, they did not listen to us, and this process continued,” he said.

“I’m telling openly and clearly, you saw the Claw-Lock operation right now. We will continue to do the same in northern Syria as we did in the north of Iraq. We will continue on our way with the same determination, regardless of who is behind them, against organizations that are hostile to us,” Erdoğan stated.

Finland and Sweden have long cooperated with NATO and are willing to join the alliance quickly. As a NATO member, Turkey could veto moves to admit the two countries.

Turkey has supplied Ukraine with combat drones but has shied away from slapping sanctions on Russia alongside Western allies.

Since Ankara enjoys good relations with Kiev and Moscow, it has been mediating for an end to the conflict and offered to host a leaders’ summit.

On May 12, Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinisto announced that they believed their country “must apply for NATO membership without delay.”

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde stressed that Finland’s actions would also impact Sweden and “needed to be considered.”

She noted that both Finnish and Swedish memberships would be considered “negative” by Russia, but she told reporters that they did not anticipate a “conventional military attack” in reaction to a potential application.

Sweden and neighboring Finland have been militarily non-aligned for decades, but have both seen public and political support for joining the military alliance soar following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.