Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, on Wednesday called on members of the alliance to “respect” Ankara’s concerns about the two countries, which Turkey accuses of harboring terrorists.
In parliament, Erdogan told his party’s lawmakers, “Our only expectation from NATO allies is … to understand our sensitivities first, to respect them and finally to support them.”
Finland and Sweden submitted a joint request to join NATO on Wednesday, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dramatically reassessed security in Europe.
Erdogan has accused Stockholm of providing safe haven to members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.
“We asked them to hand over 30 terrorists but they refused to do so,” he said.
“You will not send terrorists back to us and then ask for our support for your NATO membership … We cannot say ‘yes’ to destabilizing this security organization,” he added.
Sweden has imposed arms embargoes on Turkey since 2019 due to Ankara’s invasion of Syria.
“We are sensitive about defending our borders against terrorist attacks,” Erdogan said, urging NATO allies to support Turkey’s “legitimate” Syrian operation or at least not stand in their way.
The Turkish leader further said that he was not sincere in his request to the Swedish or Finnish representatives to visit Ankara for consultations.
“They want to come on Monday. They shouldn’t be bothered. There’s no need,” he said.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)