If Sweden and Finland take the Russian threat seriously and want to become NATO members to protect themselves, they must first take the necessary steps against the PKK terror group, the leader of an opposition party in Turkiye said on Wednesday.
Speaking at her party's parliamentary group, Meral Aksener, head of the Good (IYI) Party, said the two countries should expel the terrorist group, which will "stab them in the back at the first opportunity," from their territory.
"Not just Sweden and Finland, but also countries like Germany, the UK and France that value the future of the Western security architecture, should immediately get rid of (Vladimir) Putin's extensions," she noted, referring to the PKK's support to Russia in its war on Ukraine.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Aksener went on to say that Turkiye has not been treated fairly despite the goodwill it showed by approving Greece's return to NATO in the 1980s or role the country played in Korea, Bosnia, and Afghanistan.
So, those who expect goodwill from Ankara on Sweden and Finland's membership bids should first "evaluate their own intentions," she asserted.
Strengthening Europe's security and ending the PKK's presence in Europe are two important issues for Ankara and Turkiye should make its decision on this issue, added Aksener.
"To our understanding, these are not contradictory goals," she said, underlining the PKK's support for Russia in Europe's current security crisis, even as the terrorist organization has for years seen Europe as a "safe haven."
Europe cannot and should not be a region where terrorist organizations can pursue their aims with "unlimited pragmatism," she emphasized
Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden's membership bids, criticizing the two Nordic countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups like the PKK and YPG, the terror group's Syrian offshoot.
For a country to join NATO, all the alliance's members must agree unanimously, including Turkiye.
Over the last five years, both Sweden and Finland have failed to agree to Turkiye's requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.