President Erdogan tells NATO chief Stoltenberg that measures by both Nordic nations against PKK terror group and its affiliates would determine how fast Ankara will ratify their memberships, says Turkish presidency.

Stoltenberg (R) praises Erdogan's role in the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal.
Stoltenberg (R) praises Erdogan's role in the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal. (AFP)

Türkiye will not formally approve Finland and Sweden's membership of NATO until the two countries take necessary "steps" against the PKK terror group and its franchises, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"President Erdogan noted that the steps to be taken by Sweden and Finland would determine how fast the approval process... would go and when it would be concluded," the Turkish presidency said on Friday.

Erdogan and Stoltenberg held a private meeting in Istanbul that was closed to the media. Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan and Stoltenberg's wife Ingrid Schulerud were also present at the reception held at the Dolmabahce Presidential Office.

Following the meeting, Stoltenberg praised Türkiye's role in the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal.

"We also discussed finalising #Finland & #Sweden's #NATO membership, which will make our Alliance stronger," he said on Twitter.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations of providing a safe haven for PKK terrorists and held back on ratifying their NATO membership until both countries follow the terms of the deal they signed in June. 

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become NATO members in May after Russia invaded Ukraine.

But Erdogan resisted their bids and sought concessions, leading to a deal in June between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden that included provisions on extraditions and sharing information.

Swedish PM to meet Erdogan 

New Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will visit Ankara on Tuesday to meet with Erdogan in a trip that Stockholm hopes will lead to Türkiye's approval.

Stoltenberg "welcomed the major, concrete steps already taken by both countries to put the memorandum into practice, and stressed that their accession will make NATO stronger", the alliance said in a statement on Friday.

On Thursday, the NATO secretary general said Finland and Sweden's accession was important "to send a clear message to Russia" during a press conference with the Turkish foreign minister.

All 30 NATO member states except Türkiye and Hungary have ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland.

New members to the alliance require unanimous approval.

Source: AFP