Erdogan conditions support for Nordic nations' NATO bids
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey will look into Finland and Swedenjoini only if the nation's concerns are addressed.
Despite widespread support from other allies, notably the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Saturday that Turkey would not look "positively" on Sweden and Finland's NATO ambitions until its terror-related worries were addressed.
Turkey has long accused Nordic nations, particularly Sweden, of housing banned Kurdish militants as well as supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher wanted in connection with the attempted 2016 coup.
Since NATO choices require unanimity, Erdogan's ultimatum poses a significant potential barrier to the membership of the formerly militarily non-aligned Nordic nations.
"Unless Sweden and Finland clearly show that they will stand in solidarity with Turkey on fundamental issues, especially in the fight against terrorism, we will not approach these countries' NATO membership positively," Erdogan told NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in a phone call, according to the presidency.
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Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter that he spoke with Erdogan "of our valued ally" on the importance of "NATO's open door".
"We agree that the security concerns of all allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution," he said.
Stoltenberg said Turkey's "concerns" were being addressed to find "an agreement on how to move forward".
Earlier, on Thursday, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed determination to block Sweden and Finland's application to enter NATO, calling Sweden a "complete terror haven."
The two countries will be abandoning their non-alignment policy as they bandwagon on NATO expansion. On Wednesday, the two countries submitted a joint application for NATO membership.
However, Erdogan is threatening to block the bid, stressing that Stockholm is "a complete terror focus, a complete terror haven," in a video broadcast on Thursday.
"We will continue this policy in a determined fashion and we told relevant parties that we will say 'no' to Finland and Sweden joining NATO," according to the Turkish leader.