Erdogan says he won’t let ‘terrorist-supporting’ countries into NATO, media say


Turkey has opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO, delaying a deal that would allow historic enlargement in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. —Photo Reuters

Sunday, May 29, 2022 7:56 p.m. GMT

ISTANBUL, May 29 – President Tayyip Erdogan said talks last week between Turkey and the Finnish and Swedish delegations were not at the “expected level” and that Ankara cannot say yes to the countries “support for the terrorism” entering NATO, state broadcaster TRT Haber reported today.

Turkey has opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO, delaying a deal that would allow historic enlargement in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Erdogan’s latest comments indicated his opposition continued.

“As long as Tayyip Erdogan is the head of the Republic of Turkey, we absolutely cannot say ‘yes’ to countries that support terrorism entering NATO,” he told reporters on his return from Turkey. a trip to Azerbaijan on Saturday.

Two sources previously told Reuters talks on Wednesday had made little progress and it was unclear when further talks would take place. The 30 members of NATO must approve the expansion plans of the Western alliance.

Turkey has challenged offers from Sweden and Finland on the grounds that they are harboring people linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and others it considers terrorists, and because they halted arms exports to Ankara in 2019.

“They are neither honest nor sincere. We cannot repeat the mistake made in the past about countries hosting and nurturing such terrorists within NATO, which is a security organization,” he said. he declares.

Sweden and Finland said they condemned terrorism and welcomed the possibility of coordinating with Ankara.

Erdogan also said that Turkey wants to see an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible, but the situation is becoming more negative every day.

“On Monday, I will have phone calls with Russia and Ukraine. We will continue to encourage the parties to pursue channels of dialogue and diplomacy,” he said. —Reuters

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