Ankara, Turkey | Xinhua | Turkey will not allow “terrorism-supporting” countries to enter NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday, underlining the talks with Sweden and Finland on their intention to join the alliance have not yielded results.
Last week’s negotiations with Finnish and Swedish delegations in Turkey’s capital Ankara were not at the “expected level,” Erdogan told journalists on the plane during his flight from Azerbaijan to Turkey.
“They have expectations, but they did not take the necessary steps regarding Turkey,” the state-run TRT broadcaster quoted Erdogan as saying.
On the contrary, they kept on the activities which Turkey has been criticizing, the Turkish president said.
“As long as Tayyip Erdogan is the head of the Republic of Turkey, we definitely cannot say ‘yes’ to countries, which ‘support terrorism,’ entering NATO,” he said.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week following the Russia-Ukraine conflict that erupted in February.
NATO allies, except for Turkey, have welcomed the two countries’ proposals. Accession of new member states requires consensus among existing NATO members.
Ankara, however, citing the Swedish and Finnish ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other anti-Turkey groups, objected to their entry into the alliance.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.
Turkey also accuses the two countries of harboring members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara says is behind a failed military coup attempt in 2016.
Turkey demanded “concrete assurances” from Sweden and Finland for “termination of support” to these groups, and requested the lifting of arms sanctions against Ankara.
A joint Swedish-Finnish delegation held talks in Ankara with Turkish officials and diplomats last week in an attempt to resolve disputes with Turkey.