Sweden and Finland have no clear stance against terrorist groups, the Turkish president says, adding their delegations should not come to Ankara to push their NATO bid.

A NATO member for 70 years, Türkiye, like all its fellow members, must approve of any new countries joining the alliance.
A NATO member for 70 years, Türkiye, like all its fellow members, must approve of any new countries joining the alliance. (AP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Türkiye will not greenlight NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, adding that the countries failed to take a clear stance against terrorism.

"We will not say 'yes' to those (countries) who apply sanctions to Türkiye to join security organisation NATO," Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Ankara on Monday.

Erdogan also said that Swedish and Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Ankara to convince Türkiye to approve their NATO bid.

Last Friday, the president said Türkiye does not look positively on Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bid, adding that certain Scandinavian countries effectively act as “guesthouses” for terrorist groups.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed reservations over Finland and Sweden joining NATO on Sunday, saying the Scandinavian countries support the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

READ MORE: Türkiye expects Finland, Sweden to have clear stance against terrorism

Point of contention

A NATO member for 70 years, Türkiye, like all its fellow members, must approve of any new countries joining the alliance. 

For decades, Sweden and Finland took a neutral foreign policy stance in the region, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict that started on February 24 triggered a shift in their approach.

Both the public and most politicians now favour joining the NATO alliance, as both countries stated their intention to seek NATO membership in May.

However, Sweden and Finland have not responded positively to Ankara's requests for the extradition of over 30 terrorists over the past five years, justice ministry sources told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK terror group has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. 

The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

READ MORE: Sweden delegation to arrive in Türkiye to discuss NATO membership

Source: TRTWorld and agencies