In a key development, Turkey has rejected the idea of Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Just hours after the two countries announced their intention to join NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his objection to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. Earlier, the Swedish Foreign Ministry announced that Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers would visit Turkey to discuss Ankara’s concerns over the two countries’ NATO membership. In response to this, Erdogan said the two countries don’t need to send delegates to persuade Turkey of their ambitions because the answer will be no. It is pertinent to note that Turkey is a core member of NATO.
Erdogan said they would not say “yes” to those who impose embargoes on Turkey as part of the NATO membership process. He went on to say that Ankara does not openly take a stand against terrorist organizations, describing Sweden as a “terrorist organization”. Turkey has further accused the two Nordic nations of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization, as well as supporters of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of plotting an attempted coup. status in 2016, according to BBC. Following Ankara’s attack on Syria, the two Nordic countries imposed an arms embargo on Turkey in 2019.
Even before it was official that the two Nordic countries would join NATO, Turkey voiced its opposition last week, accusing them of aiding Kurdish insurgents it considers terrorists. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday that countries that support terrorism should not be NATO friends. The foreign minister further said that Turkey has asked Finland and Sweden to stop helping terrorist organizations.
Sweden, Finland previously received security guarantees from the UK
Sweden and Finland officially announced their decision to join NATO, ending centuries of military non-alignment in the countries. Both countries had previously received security guarantees from the UK. Despite Turkish opposition, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday he was optimistic about Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said the addition of Finland and Sweden to the 30-member military alliance did not directly threaten Moscow, but that any expansion of the military alliance would prompt a response from Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was watching NATO expansion closely and believed it would not benefit Europe’s security.
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