Politics, World

Türkiye demands 'results' not 'verbiage' from Sweden, Finland on terror groups

Sweden and Finland have to take into account Türkiye's concerns, President Erdogan says ahead of NATO summit

Merve Gül Aydoğan Ağlarcı   | 28.06.2022
Türkiye demands 'results' not 'verbiage' from Sweden, Finland on terror groups


Ankara is expecting to see action instead of empty words from Sweden and Finland on terror groups, the Turkish president said before leaving for a NATO summit meeting in Madrid on Tuesday.

Saying that NATO membership comes with responsibilities, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara: "If Sweden and Finland are to become members of NATO, they have to take into account the security concerns of Türkiye, a member of the alliance for 70 years."

Sweden, along with Finland, formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting the terrorist groups.

"We will hold a quadripartite meeting (on Sweden and Finland's membership bids) and see what point they have reached. We do not want verbiage, but results," Erdogan said.

He added that Ankara expects Stockholm and Helsinki to prevent the terrorist PKK, YPG/PYD, and all other offshoots from operating freely in their countries.

Erdogan said demonstrations by terror group PKK supporters are not limited to Sweden only, but take place in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Greece as well.

Türkiye has been attacked by such terrorist groups, and not a single statement was made by those countries, Erdogan added.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people.

Saying that the Madrid summit is taking place at a critical time, Erdogan said the Russia-Ukraine war and its ramifications on NATO, as well as the deterrence capacity of the alliance and threats arising in the southern hemisphere, are to be addressed.

"We expect from our allies not to discriminate between NATO members, and that threat against one should be interpreted as a threat against all," Erdogan added.

On meeting with leaders on the sidelines of the summit, Erdogan said: "We had a talk with Mr. (US President Joe) Biden this morning. He stated his desire to meet again this evening or tomorrow. We answered him that 'it is possible to meet again'."

Adding that negotiations are ongoing with the US on the F-16 fighter jets deal, Erdogan said "unfortunately tactics of stalling those negotiations are still present."

Criticizing the US for providing guns and ammunition to the PKK and its offshoots, Erdogan said those weapons are used against Türkiye and that he will raise the issue at the summit.

He also dismissed a possible meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying that no meeting will take place until "they come to their senses."

Last month, Erdogan criticized Mitsotakis for his comments on Türkiye during an official visit to the US, saying that the Greek premier is no longer fit to deal with.

Türkiye in recent months has also stepped up criticism of Greece stationing troops on islands in the eastern Aegean, near the Turkish coast and in many cases visible from shore.

These islands were required to be demilitarized under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris, so any troops or weapons on the islands are strictly forbidden.

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