President Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoganreject the plan Sweden and Finland join the northern Antlantic Defense Pact military alliance (NATO).
Why does Turkey not want these two countries to join NATO?
“We will not say ‘yes’ to those (countries) imposing sanctions on Turkey to join the NATO security organization,” Erdogan said Monday, May 16. AFP.
Sweden has suspended arms sales to Turkey since 2019. The policy came after Ankara’s military operation in Syria.
Responding to Turkey’s refusal, the Swedish and Finnish delegations are said to be meeting Ankara officials.
“They said they would come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Sorry, but they don’t have to bother,” said Erdogan.
Finland and Sweden have already announced that they will join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Turkey threatened to block the expansion of the military bloc’s alliance.
Ankara also accuses both countries of harboring terror groups including Kurdish militia.
The Kurds are one of the groups blacklisted by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
“There is not a single country that (does not) have a firm stance against terror organizations,” Erdogan said.
Another issue that has sparked the conflict between Turkey and the Nordic countries is the issue of extradition. Finland and Sweden failed to meet that demand during those five years.
Turkey’s Ministry of Justice wants people accused of links to Kurdish militants or in Erdogan’s 2016 coup attempt. But Finland and Sweden did not fulfill it.
Turkey has also rebuked Stokholm for showing concessions to the Kurditan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency into Turkey since 1984.
Despite the dispute between Turkey and the two countries, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Sweden and Finland would join NATO.
To become a member of NATO must be approved by all members of the alliance, which amounts to 30 countries.