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NATO

Turkish president vows to block ‘terror haven’ Sweden from Nato

Turkey is 'determined' to block Sweden's and Finland's bids to join Nato, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, calling Stockholm in particular a "complete terror haven."

Turkish president vows to block 'terror haven' Sweden from Nato
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP

Abandoning their long established non-alignment policy after Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted a joint application for Nato membership.

But Erdogan is threatening to block the bid, singling out Sweden as “a complete terror focus, a complete terror haven,” in a video broadcast he tweeted on Thursday.

“We will continue this policy in a determined fashion and we told relevant parties that we will say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden joining Nato,” the Turkish leader said in one excerpt of the video from his chat with young people.

The United States is “confident” that Turkey’s concerns over accession to Nato by Finland and Sweden can be overcome, a top advisor to President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

“We’re confident that at the end of the day Finland and Sweden” will enter Nato and “that Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

Speaking after Erdogan released his video, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that “concerns” raised by Turkey over the Sweden and Finland’s applications to the military alliance were being addressed.

“Of course, we are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed,” to find “an agreement on how to move forward,” Stoltenberg told a Copenhagen conference, after Turkey opposed the applications of the two Nordic countries over what it considers leniency toward Kurdish militant groups.

Member comments

  1. The Local does not know which way the wind is blowing , so one article makes a defeat look a victory , and another makes a defeat look and sound like a defeat .

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NATO

Erdogan warns Turkey may still block Swedish Nato bid

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday told Sweden and Finland that he could still block their drives to join Nato if they fail to implement a new accession deal with Ankara.

Erdogan warns Turkey may still block Swedish Nato bid

Erdogan issued his blunt warning at the end of a Nato summit at which the US-led alliance formally invited the Nordic countries to join the 30-nation bloc.

The two nations dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their bids were headed for swift approval until Erdogan voiced concerns in May.

He accused the two of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants and promoting “terrorism”.

Erdogan also demanded they lift arms embargoes imposed in response to Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

A 10-point memorandum signed by the three sides on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Tuesday appeared to address many of Erdogan’s concerns. Erdogan lifted his objections and then held a warm meeting with US President Joe Biden that was followed by a promise of new warplane sales to Turkey.

Yet Erdogan told reporters at an impromptu press conference held as the summit ended that the memorandum did not mean Turkey would automatically approve the two countries’ membership. New countries’ applications must be approved by all members and ratified by their respective parliaments.

Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland’s future behaviour would decide whether he forwarded their application to the Turkish parliament.

“If they fulfil their duties, we will send it to the parliament. If they are not fulfilled, it is out of the question,” he said.

A senior Turkish diplomat in Washington said the ratification process could come at the very earliest in late September and may wait until 2023, with parliament going into recess from Friday.

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