Turkey opposes Finland, Sweden's NATO bids: Erdogan
The president stated that delegations from these nations should not bother requesting approval from Ankara.
Turkey would not say "yes" to Finland and Sweden's NATO membership requests, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who added that any attempts to persuade Ankara to modify its attitude would be futile.
This weekend, both governments formally confirmed their decision to join the US-led military alliance. Erdogan had previously warned that Turkey would resist the measure, labeling the two Nordic countries "guesthouses for terrorist organizations."
The Turkish president was alluding to the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP/C).
“These countries do not have a clear unequivocal stance against terrorist organizations. Sweden is the incubation center of terrorist organizations. They bring terrorists to talk in their parliaments. <…> We wouldn't say 'yes' to them joining NATO, a security organization <…> They were going to come on Monday to convince us. Sorry, they don’t have to bother,” Erdogan said.
Talks about the bloc
According to the Swedish Foreign Ministry, senior officials from Helsinki and Stockholm will fly to Turkey to discuss the situation. Erdogan, on the other hand, stated at a press conference that such talks would be futile.
To join the bloc, a country's membership bid must be unanimously approved by all 30 members. The US will almost certainly press Ankara to drop its objections.
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana earlier stated that his organization was confident it could overcome Turkey's misgivings.
Following a significant shift in public opinion as a result of the war in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden decided to reexamine their long-standing policy of non-alignment. Recent polls show that a majority of people in both nations now favor NATO membership.
Moscow has criticized the countries' decision to apply for NATO membership. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the new event exacerbates an already complex international security situation.
Will NATO reach a consensus on Sweden and Finland?
The discussion is expected to take place during the Swedish Defense Minister's upcoming visit to Washington.
"Secretary is looking forward to meeting with the Swedish Defense Minister on Wednesday," Kirby said. "I do not doubt that the Defense Minister will want to discuss with the Secretary their plans concerning NATO."
Kirby also commented on Turkey's position vis-a-vis Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO, saying that the US is still working to clarify Ankara's position on the matter.
"We are still working to clarify Turkey’s position on this, they are a valued NATO ally," Kirby told a briefing.