Turks oppose Sweden, Finland joining NATO over PKK support: Ankara
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stresses that his country is against Sweden and Finland joining NATO due to both Nordic states supporting organizations Ankara deems to be terrorist ones.
The majority of Turkish people oppose the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO over their open support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara designated as terrorist ones, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday.
"The problem for Turkey is that Finland and Sweden are supporting PKK, and Turkey is seeking solidarity from a military alliance," Cavusoglu said at the doorstep of the informal meeting of NATO ministers of foreign affairs in Berlin, Germany.
"These two countries are openly supporting and are engaging with PKK-YPG. These are terrorist organizations. They have been attacking every day our troops," he added.
Cavusogly stressed that solidarity within an alliance like NATO is "just as important" as security, explaining that NATO was not an international organization but rather an alliance.
"Therefore, it is not only about the security, it is also about the solidarity, shoulder to shoulder solidarity when allies are needed," the top diplomat said.
The minister also revealed that the people of Turkey opposed the accession of these Northern European countries to the alliance and urged Ankara to block their membership.
"A big majority of the Turkish people are against the membership of those countries who are supporting PKK-YPG terrorist organizations and they are asking us to block this membership," Cavusoglu said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Ankara was closely following the developments surrounding plans for the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, stressing that he could not assess the situation positively yet.
"We are following the process. But we do not have a positive opinion on this matter, because, before that, there was a mistake in connection with Greece. You are aware of Greece's behavior in the alliance towards Turkey," President Erdogan underlined.
He also pointed to how Scandanavian countries "have a habit of showing 'hospitality' to terrorists, letting them into parliament," citing that as the reason why Turkey could not look positively at the prospect of Stockholm and Helsinki joining the alliance.
Finland, alongside its neighbor to the West, Sweden, is expected to request NATO membership in the coming months - before summer. Their accession, if it were to happen, would redefine European security and would be met with opposition from Russia, which has been very vocal about its opposition to NATO's expansion.
Though Moscow opposes the alliance's expansion, it does not see the accession of Finland and Sweden into the bloc as an existential threat, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov underlined. However, Russia will work on its Western flank to make it more sophisticated in terms of security in the face of NATO creeping in on its northern borders.