Erdogan says he will not approve Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership if they sanction Turkey


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony for his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Ankara, Turkey on May 16. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that he would not approve Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership if they sanction Ankara. 

“First of all, we would not say ‘yes’ to those who impose sanctions on Turkey joining NATO, which is a security organization. Because then NATO would not remain a security organization anymore, it becomes a place where representatives of the terror concentrate,” Erdogan said. 

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Erdogan said Swedish and Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Turkey to try to convince Turkey to approve the country’s NATO membership. 

Turkey’s foreign minister held “some” meetings with Swedish and Finnish counterparts, Erdogan said, adding that none of the two countries had a clear stance against terror organizations.

“Even if they say ‘we are against them,’ on the contrary they have statements saying that they do not hand over the terrorists that they need to hand over to Turkey,” he said. 
He added that Sweden is a “nest” for terror organizations, saying it allows terrorists to speak in parliaments. 
“They have special invitations to terrorists. They even have pro PKK MPs in their parliaments. How are we going to trust them?”

Erdogan reiterated the same stance last week when he told a news conference in Istanbul that he was not looking at the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining NATO “positively,” accusing both countries of housing Kurdish “terrorist organizations.”

The PKK, or Kurdistan Worker’s Party, which seeks an independent state in Turkey, has been in an armed struggle with Turkey for decades and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union.



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