Turkey comes out against Swedish and Finnish Nato membership

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has thrown up the first significant hurdle to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, declaring that "it’s not possible for us to look positively at this.”

Turkey comes out against Swedish and Finnish Nato membership
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference after a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on May 9. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP)

Turkey, which has been a member of Nato since just a few years after the alliance was founded, has frequently clashed with Sweden over the support it has shown for the Kurds, a persecuted minority in Turkey whose Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), is classed as a terrorist organisation. 

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Friday. It had been a mistake even to admit Greece in 1952, he said. 

“As Turkey, we don’t want to repeat similar mistakes. Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organisations,” he said. 

Sweden currently has six Kurdish MPs, representing the Liberal, Social Democrats, Sweden Democrats and Left Party.

“They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favour,” Erdogan added. 

Member comments

  1. Sweden will never hand over the Political enemies of the President of Turkey neither will Finland so go put the Champagne glasses back where they have been for three hundred years because Sweden and Finland will never be allowed into NATO as long as Turkey is led by this despot who regards both countries on trying to undermine his rule .

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Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden’s NATO bid

Erdogan signalled on Saturday that no progress had been made in Sweden's bid to join NATO, urging Stockholm to take "concrete actions" to meet Ankara's concerns, his office said.

Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden's NATO bid

In a phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Erdogan reiterated that “Sweden should take steps regarding such fundamental matters as combatting terrorism”, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Turkey “wanted to see binding commitments on these issues together with concrete and clear action,” he added.

Finland and Sweden discussed their stalled NATO bids with Turkey in Brussels on Monday, but Ankara dampened hopes that their dispute will be resolved before an alliance summit next week.

Turkish officials said Ankara does not view the summit as a final deadline for resolving Ankara’s objections. Ankara has accused Finland and in particular Sweden of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants whose decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdogan told Andersson that Sweden “should make concrete changes in its attitude” toward the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates, the presidency said.

“In this regard no tangible action aimed at addressing Turkey’s concerns was seen to have been taken by Sweden”, it added.

READ ALSO: Hopes fade for Sweden’s swift Nato accession

The Turkish leader also voiced expectations that Sweden would lift an arms embargo against Turkey that Stockholm imposed in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.

He also said he hopes that restrictions on Turkey’s defence industry would be lifted, and that Sweden will extradite several people Ankara has accused of involvement in terrorism.

The phone call comes after Erdogan discussed the two countries’ bid with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. Erdogan also told Stoltenberg that “Sweden and Finland should take concrete and sincere steps” against outlawed Kurdish militants, the presidency said.