Erdogan Continues to Reject Finland and Sweden Joining NATO

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The Scandinavian countries Sweden and Finland are striving to join NATO. A majority of Parliament in Stockholm voted in favour of the historic step on Monday. Meanwhile, Turkey is threatening to block the entry of the two Nordic countries.

 

Finland and Sweden want to join NATO – but the Turkish President is sceptical about it. Erdogan reiterated his negative stance. He tells the Finnish and Swedish delegations who want to travel to Turkey: You shouldn’t even bother.

Despite efforts to reach an agreement on the part of the defence alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again criticized Finland and Sweden’s possible NATO membership. One cannot agree to the accession of countries that have imposed sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan said in Ankara on Monday. He again accused both countries of supporting “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had already criticized at the weekend that there were export restrictions on armaments because of Turkey’s fight against these groups and called for them to be lifted. Sweden has not delivered any weapons to Turkey since 2019 because of Ankara’s military operation in neighbouring Syria.

Erdogan further said that concerning the visit of a Finnish and Swedish delegation to Turkey, they should not even bother. “Will they come to convince us? If so, no offence, they shouldn’t bother,” he said.

The Turkish President had already caused unrest in the alliance last week with negative statements about the possible NATO accession of Finland and Sweden. Many other NATO countries, including Germany, have declared their explicit support for Sweden and Finland’s accession plans. The alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said after a foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin on Sunday that Turkey had no intention of “blocking” the admission of Sweden and Finland.

A unanimous vote by NATO and the ratification of the alliance expansion by the parliaments of the 30 existing member states are required for Finland and Sweden to join.

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