Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it is "inconsistent" for Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership when they provide support to YPG/PKK terrorists.
As a NATO member, Türkiye will not agree to any enlargement that could leave the military alliance less secure, nor harm its own security, the Turkish president has said, laying out its concerns over Finland and Sweden’s push for NATO membership amid the Ukraine war.
"We expect our allies to understand our sensitivities (on counter-terror efforts), to show respect and to provide support if possible," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group meeting of Türkiye’s Justice and Development (AK) Party in the capital Ankara on Wednesday.
"We are one of the top countries that actively support the activities of the (NATO) alliance, but this does not mean we will agree to every proposal without question," he said, adding that NATO enlargement can work if Türkiye’s sensitivities are respected.
Erdogan underlined Türkiye's need to protect its borders from terror groups.
It is "inconsistent" for Sweden and Finland to seek to join the military alliance when they provide support to YPG/PKK terrorists, he said.
Sweden refused to extradite terrorists to Türkiye, but dares to ask for NATO membership, he said.
Türkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, criticising the two Nordic countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups like the YPG/PKK.
For any new member to join NATO, all the alliance’s members must agree unanimously, including Türkiye.
Türkiye expects NATO allies to understand its sensitivities on counter-terror efforts, show respect and support, says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pic.twitter.com/5mIrGYWTJa— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) May 18, 2022
'Guesthouses' for terrorists
Over the last five years, both Sweden and Finland have failed to agree to Türkiye’s requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK and FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye.
Last Friday, Erdogan said that certain Scandinavian countries act like “guesthouses” for terrorist groups.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Türkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Senior representatives of Sweden and Finland are set to visit Türkiye in the coming days to hold official talks in Ankara to discuss their NATO membership bids, spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.