Türkİye, World

Finland, Sweden should be convinced for NATO membership, not Turkiye: Official

Issue is convincing Finland, Sweden to stop backing terror groups, says ruling party spokesman

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 19.05.2022
Finland, Sweden should be convinced for NATO membership, not Turkiye: Official

ANKARA 

Rather than convincing Turkiye, Finland and Sweden should be convinced to stop backing terrorist organizations to become a part of NATO, the spokesman of the Turkish ruling party said Thursday.

"The situation here is not a matter of convincing Turkiye ... the candidate countries ... are persuaded to cut their support to terrorist organizations," Omer Celik told a meeting of the Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine that began in February. But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups.

Noting the implementation of Article 5 on collective defense for the first time after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the US, Celik regretted that Turkiye has never received the same support for its fight against terrorism.

"Turkey makes a clear demand, the new NATO member states should cut their ties with terrorism in any case," the spokesman said.

He said Sweden's support to PKK/YPG in Syria is "clear" through Europol reports and called the video meeting between the Swedish defense minister and PKK/YPG's Syrian leader "frightening."

Over the last five years, both Helsinki and Stockholm have failed to agree to Ankara’s requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK and FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkiye.

Senior representatives of Finland and Sweden are set to visit Ankara in the coming days to discuss their accession process, which requires the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states.

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