Turkey will not allow “terrorism-supporting” countries to join NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, emphasizing that talks with Sweden and Finland about joining the military alliance have failed.
Last week’s negotiations in Turkey’s capital Ankara with Finnish and Swedish delegations were not at the “expected level,” Erdogan told journalists.
“They have expectations, but they did not take the necessary steps regarding Turkey,” Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying.
On the contrary, they continued with the activities that Turkey has condemned, he added.
“As long as Tayyip Erdogan is the head of the Republic of Turkey, we definitely cannot say ‘yes’ to countries, which ‘support terrorism’, entering NATO.”
Following the Russia-Ukraine conflict that erupted in February, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week.
Except for Turkey, NATO allies have welcomed the two countries’ proposals.
The admission of new NATO members necessitates agreement among existing NATO members.
Ankara, on the other hand, objected to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, citing their ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other anti-Turkey groups.
Turkey has designated the PKK as a terrorist organization, and it has been fighting the Ankara government for more than three decades.
Turkey also accuses both countries of harboring members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara claims is responsible for a failed military coup attempt in 2016.
Turkey has demanded “concrete assurances” from Sweden and Finland regarding the “termination of support” for these groups, as well as the lifting of arms sanctions against Ankara.
Last week, a joint Swedish-Finnish delegation met with Turkish officials and diplomats in Ankara in an attempt to resolve the disputes.