October 3, 2022
Erdogan re-ups concerns over Finland, Sweden joining NATO in calls with countries' leaders

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on his objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO in separate phone conversations with the leaders of the two countries and NATO Saturday.

Mr. Erdogan said Turkey “could not have a positive view” on the two Nordic countries joining the alliance “as long as these countries did not show that they would be in solidarity with Turkey concerning fundamental issues, combating terrorism in particular.”

“President Erdoğan stated that a mentality that disregarded terrorist organizations which posed a threat to an ally within NATO would not comply with the spirit of alliance and friendship,” according to a statement posted on Twitter by the Turkish Presidency’s office summarizing Mr. Erdogan’s call with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland.

According to a readout of Mr. Erdogan’s conversation with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, the Turkish president raised specific concerns over Sweden’s support for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group that Turkey considers to be a terrorist organization responsible for orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016. 

Mr. Erdogan also accuses Finland of supporting the organization and called for both countries to cease their support as a condition for joining NATO.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he and Mr. Erdogan spoke of the “importance of NATO’s Open Door,” and Turkey’s concerns over Finland and Sweden’s bids to join.

“We agree that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution,” Mr. Stoltenberg said on Twitter Saturday.

Finland and Sweden submitted formal applications to join the post-World War II alliance on Wednesday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both countries will require the endorsement of all 30 current NATO members before joining the alliance.

President Biden met with Mr. Niinisto and Ms. Andersson at the White House Thursday and expressed U.S. support for both countries to join the alliance.

Both leaders have said they are confident Turkey’s objections can be dealt with.

Ms. Andersson wrote on Twitter that she appreciated Saturday’s discussion with Mr. Erdogan.

“We look forward to strengthening our bilateral relations, including on peace, security, and the fight against terrorism,” she said.

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