The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoganreiterated for another week that it will not admit the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO until it is completely convinced that both countries have cut ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization declared a terrorist group by Ankara .
“Until our expectations are met, we will continue without changing our position on NATO expansion”he said during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party.
“At the moment, leaders of terrorist organizations roam freely in Sweden and Finland, under the protection of the Swedes and the Finns,” he added.
Both the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistoas the prime minister of Sweden, Magdalena Andersonand the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberghave agreed that they all take into account Turkey’s “security concerns” in this regard to ensure the accession of both countries as a security measure against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, the efforts of Sweden and Finland to convince the president that they have no relationship with these groups do not seem to have borne fruit. After indicating at the end of last month that the talks in recent days have not taken place “at the desired level”, Erdogan criticizes practically every time he speaks the alleged protections granted by these countries to the Kurds wanted by the Turkish government.
For the entry to be made, all NATO members must approve the candidacy of the two Nordic countries, prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. NATO leaders hope that the summit to be held in Spain at the end of June will be the opportunity for the historic expansion.
The group known as the PKK is designated as a terrorist entity by the United States and the European Union, including Sweden and Finland. However, the West’s attitude towards the PKK’s Syrian wing, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, has caused acrimony between Ankara and other NATO members. The YPG form the backbone of the forces involved in the US-led fight against the Islamic State group.
Finland and Sweden have tried to broker a solution and other NATO capitals have said they remain confident that objections raised by Turkey — which has NATO’s second-largest army — can be overcome.
Jens StoltenbergSecretary General of NATO, announced last Wednesday that he will bring together top officials from Sweden, Finland and Turkey at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels to unblock the accession of both Scandinavian countries.
In a press conference from Washington, where he has met with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenthe former Norwegian prime minister confirmed that a meeting will be convened “in the next few days” to ensure that the military organization “progresses” in the accession of Stockholm and Helsinki, which requires the unanimity of the 30 allies.
The secretary general indicated that he hopes to make progress before the NATO leaders’ summit in Madrid at the end of June and avoided detailing what the Nordic countries must do to save the Turkish veto.
For his part, the US Secretary of State reiterated the support of the United States for the candidacy of the two Scandinavian countries, assuring that there is a “great consensus” in NATO on the advisability of integrating Sweden and Finland, and hoping “to move quickly ” in the process.
The Chief of the American General Staff, Mark Milley, met on Friday in Helsinki with the Finnish president to show his support for the accession of that country and Sweden to NATO. “It is clear that, from a military point of view, If the Finnish and Swedish bids are approved, they will significantly strengthen NATO’s military capabilities.” General Milley told reporters accompanying him on his tour.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusogluargued that Finland and Sweden must change their laws if necessary to meet Turkey’s demands and gain its support for its NATO bid.
With information from Europe Press
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