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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will hold a press conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 14 June 2021.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference at the NATO summit at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 14 June 2021. Yves Herman / Pool / Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held separate telephone talks on Saturday with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the Nordic nations’ application for NATO membership.

Erdoğan has stated several times in recent days that Turkey will not support Finland and Sweden to join NATO, accusing them of being “guesthouses for terrorist organizations.” Erdoğan claimed that the two countries house members of the separatist militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last Wednesday. The decision represents a setback for Moscow, where the war in Ukraine triggered the kind of expansion of the alliance that it invaded Ukraine to prevent. Finland’s entry would mean adding hundreds of miles of direct NATO borders to Russia.

During the telephone conversation with Andersson, Erdoğan stated that “Turkey has long emphasized that Sweden’s contacts with individuals and so-called organizations under the control of the terrorist organization PKK / YPG / PYD and Sweden’s political, economic and arms support to terrorist organizations must end,” reads a statement from the Turkish Presidency.

The YPG is a Syrian-Kurdish group in northern Syria supported by various western countries. The YPG is an ally in the fight against ISIS, but Turkey regards it as an extension of the PKK, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Andersson said she appreciated talking to the Turkish president today.

“We look forward to strengthening our bilateral relations, including on peace, security and the fight against terrorism,” according to the Prime Minister’s Twitter account.

Erdoğan told Niinistö over the phone that “an understanding that ignores terrorist organizations that pose a threat to an ally within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance,” according to the Turkish presidency.

Niinistö also wrote on his Twitter account about his “open and direct” conversation with Erdogan and said:

“I declared that as NATO allies, Finland and Turkey will commit to each other’s security, and our relationship will thus grow stronger. Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The close dialogue continues.”

Erdoğan also told Stoltenberg on the phone that “unless Sweden and Finland clearly show that they will stand in solidarity with Turkey on fundamental issues, especially in the fight against terrorism, Turkey will not take a positive view of their NATO membership,” it reads. from the presidency.

said Stoltenberg on his Twitter account that “we agree that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account and that negotiations must continue to find a solution.”

The legislators of all 30 current members of the alliance must approve new applicants.

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