Turkey has opposed the Scandinavian alliance’s claim, claiming it was a “guest house” for terrorists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday that Ankara opposes the possibility of Sweden and Finland joining NATO because he believes the two Scandinavian countries harbor “terrorists”.
By ‘terrorist’, Turkish leader refers to militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist movement in southeastern Turkey, and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP / C), a banned Turkish Communist Party.
The statement came after Helsinki and Stockholm expressed their desire to join the US-led military alliance.
“We are currently following developments in Sweden and Finland [joining NATO], But we are not in favor of it. At the moment, it is not possible for us to have a positive outlook. The Turkish president told reporters.
“Scandinavian countries are unfortunately like guesthouses of terrorist organizations. PKK and DHKP / C are based in Sweden and the Netherlands. And I’m moving forward, in their parliament, “ He added.
In April, concerned with Russia’s military action in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland began considering abandoning their neutral positions and joining NATO. Top Finnish officials have already backed the initiative. Sweden will decide on May 15 to join the military bloc.
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the US-led organization would be interested in including both countries and would speed up the accession process.
Moscow has repeatedly said it views NATO expansion as a threat to its national security. The Kremlin has also warned Sweden and Finland that they would compromise rather than improve their security by joining the alliance.
Russia invaded the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the first Minsk agreement, signed in 2014, and the final recognition of Moscow’s Donetsk and Lugansk’s Donbas republics. The German- and French-brokered Minsk protocol was designed to give special status to isolated territories within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral state that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv has insisted that the Russian invasion was completely unpopular and has denied claims that it is planning to forcibly retake the two republics.