Ankara: Turkey would say “no” to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bid, as the country would not make the same “mistake” again, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“We told our relevant friends that we would say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and we will resolutely continue this policy,” he added on Thursday.
Amid Helsinki and Stockholm’s NATO bids, Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s policy at a meeting with a group of young people in the capital Ankara on the occasion of the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.
The Turkish President said Ankara once allowed Greece to join NATO and added that his government would not make the same mistake again, Xinhua news agency reported.
Even if the two Nordic countries now pledge to give security guarantees to Turkey on the issue of these groups, they will “pull a trick” later, he added.
Erdogan reiterated that Finland and Sweden are harbouring people affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey also accuses them of harbouring the members of the Gulen Movement which Ankara says is behind a failed military coup attempt in 2016.
“These are the countries that encourage terrorist sources and give them serious financial and weapon support,” the Turkish President said.
“The two countries, especially Sweden, are home to terror (groups). They also imposed arms sanctions on us,” he added, referring to their bans on some defence exports.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades, and Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK.