In a phone call with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden and Finland should prove they do not support terrorism.

The two Nordic countries should also prove that they are ready to show solidarity with the NATO alliance, says Erdogan.
The two Nordic countries should also prove that they are ready to show solidarity with the NATO alliance, says Erdogan. (AA)

Türkiye’s security concerns over Sweden and Finland's NATO membership bids are based on “just and legitimate” grounds, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

In a phone call on Friday, Erdogan told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that Sweden and Finland should prove that they do not support terrorism and are ready to show solidarity with the alliance, and sanctions against Türkiye are lifted, according to a statement from Türkiye's Communications Directorate.

Stoltenberg, for his part, reiterated that expectations of Türkiye, which he called an important NATO ally, to ensure its security must be met.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups such as the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

The accession requires unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states.

In late May, Türkiye hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in Ankara. Erdogan said the meetings had not been "at the desired level."

READ MORE: Erdogan: Talks with Sweden, Finland on NATO bids not 'at desired level'

Source: AA