Erdogan says Turkey disagrees with Finland and Sweden joining NATO

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country had “no favorable opinion” on Sweden and Finland joining NATO, arguing that Scandinavian countries are “guest houses for anti-Turkey “terrorist organizations”.

The Turkish leader explained his opposition by citing the alleged support of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries for Kurdish militants and others whom Turkey considers terrorists, reports the Associated Press.

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion,” Erdogan said in Istanbul.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021.
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021.
(Reuters/Yves Herman/Pool/File photo)

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“In addition, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan added, according to Reuters.

Erdogan said he also did not want to repeat Turkey’s past “mistake” when it agreed to readmit Greece into NATO’s military wing in 1980. He claimed the action helped to Greece “to adopt an attitude against Turkey by taking NATO behind it”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Finland and Sweden, if they formally applied to join the world’s largest security organization, would be welcomed with open arms.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, takes part in a press conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, right, at NATO headquarters NATO in Brussels on 24 January.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, takes part in a press conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, right, at NATO headquarters NATO in Brussels on 24 January.
(AP/Olivier Matthys)

The accession procedure could take place in “a few weeks”, several NATO officials have said, although it could take member countries around 6 months to ratify the accession protocol.

Erdogan hasn’t said outright that he will block any attempt by the two Nordic nations to join, but NATO makes all its decisions by consensus, which means that each of the 30 member countries has a potential veto over who can. join.

Meanwhile, a report by the Swedish government on the altered security environment facing the Nordic country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine indicates that Moscow would react negatively to Sweden joining NATO and would initiate several countermeasures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow, Russia, Monday May 9.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Victory Day military parade marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow, Russia, Monday May 9.
(Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool photo via AP)

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The analysis of the Swedish government’s security policy, which will serve as the basis for Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s cabinet in deciding whether or not to seek membership in the Western military alliance, was presented to Swedish lawmakers on Friday.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party, led by Andersson, is expected to reveal its decision on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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