Ankara could block the pair from joining the US-led military alliance, with unanimous agreement needed on new members.
May 13, 2022
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said it is not possible for Ankara to support Sweden and Finland joining the transatlantic military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, signalling a possible hurdle to the two countries’ plans to join the organisation.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Erdogan said Turkey, which is already part of NATO, did not have “positive views” on the Scandinavian countries’ moves to seek membership, accusing them of being “guesthouses for terrorist organisations”.
“They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favour,” he said, without providing any further details.
Turkey has repeatedly criticised Sweden and other western European countries for its handling of organisations deemed to be “terrorists” by Ankara, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as well as the followers of the United States-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara has said Gulenists carried out a coup attempt in 2016. Gulen and his supporters deny the accusation.
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