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NATO

Turkish president vows to block ‘terror haven’ Sweden from Nato

Turkey is 'determined' to block Sweden's and Finland's bids to join Nato, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, calling Stockholm in particular a "complete terror haven."

Turkish president vows to block 'terror haven' Sweden from Nato
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP)

Abandoning their long established non-alignment policy after Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted a joint application for Nato membership.

But Erdogan is threatening to block the bid, singling out Sweden as “a complete terror focus, a complete terror haven,” in a video broadcast he tweeted on Thursday.

“We will continue this policy in a determined fashion and we told relevant parties that we will say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden joining Nato,” the Turkish leader said in one excerpt of the video from his chat with young people.

The United States is “confident” that Turkey’s concerns over accession to Nato by Finland and Sweden can be overcome, a top advisor to President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

“We’re confident that at the end of the day Finland and Sweden” will enter Nato and “that Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

Speaking after Erdogan released his video, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that “concerns” raised by Turkey over the Sweden and Finland’s applications to the military alliance were being addressed.

“Of course, we are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed,” to find “an agreement on how to move forward,” Stoltenberg told a Copenhagen conference, after Turkey opposed the applications of the two Nordic countries over what it considers leniency toward Kurdish militant groups.

Member comments

  1. The Local does not know which way the wind is blowing , so one article makes a defeat look a victory , and another makes a defeat look and sound like a defeat .

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NATO

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.

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