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Turkiye will say 'no' to Finland, Sweden's NATO membership: President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkiye on May 09, 2022. [Murat Kula - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Turkiye on May 09, 2022. [Murat Kula - Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye will say "no" to entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, as senior representatives of the two countries are set to visit Turkiye for talks in the coming days, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The Turkish leader reiterated Ankara's security concerns amid Helsinki and Stockholm's NATO bids, saying the Nordic countries are hosting members of the terror groups, such as YPG/ PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO).

"We told them, we said that NATO is a security organisation, we cannot accept the existence of terrorist organisations in such an organisation," Erdogan told a meeting with a group of young people in the capital, Ankara, on the occasion of the Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day.

"Especially Sweden is a real guesthouse for terror," he said, adding that Stockholm also imposed an arms embargo on Turkiye.

Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden's membership bids, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the YPG/PKK.

Over the last five years, both Helsinki and Stockholm have failed to agree to Ankara's requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK and FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkiye.

Senior representatives of Finland and Sweden are set to visit Turkiye in the coming days to hold official talks in Ankara to discuss their accession processes.​​​​​​​

 Russia-Ukraine war

Asked about the Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan said Turkiye will "continue to pursue a balanced policy".

"And I have no thought of cutting ties with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy," he said.

Erdogan also said the phone diplomacy with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders will continue.

Since the war began on 24 February, Turkiye has hosted the highest-profile meetings between Russian and Ukrainian officials this March in the resort city of Antalya and in Istanbul.

Russia's war on Ukraine has left thousands dead or wounded, and forced more than 6.3 million people to flee abroad.

PM: Finland, Sweden want to join NATO 'as soon as possible'

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