After initial criticism on Saturday, Turkey was open to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, but at the same time called for negotiations with both countries on how to deal with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “We are not closing the door. But we are fundamentally raising this issue (PKK) as a matter of Turkey’s national security,” said Ibrahim Kalin, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman and senior foreign policy adviser.
Erdogan said Friday he could not agree to NATO membership of Sweden and Finland because these countries are home to many terrorist organizations. All NATO members would have to agree to the admission of the two countries, including Turkey.
Turkey wants negotiations with Finland and Sweden, Kalin put that into perspective. Classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK raises funds and recruits in Europe. Their presence is particularly strong in Sweden. What needs to be done is clear: “You have to stop allowing PKK representations, activities, organizations, individuals and other forms of presence (…) in these countries.”
The road to NATO membership is always a process. “We’ll see how things develop.” The issue of the PKK is the first point you would like to bring to the attention of all allies and the Swedish authorities. Of course Turkey wants to talk and negotiate about this with its Swedish partners.
Finland for immediate accession to NATO
Sweden and Finland are not yet members of the western defense alliance NATO, founded in 1949. They too have not taken this step so as not to upset their big neighbor Russia. However, the situation changed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Finland has already declared itself in favor of joining NATO. Sweden will probably follow on Monday.
Both countries have long-standing close ties to NATO and have regularly participated in high-level maneuvers and meetings. As non-members, however, they do not have the security guarantee of Article five, which defines an attack on a NATO member as an attack on all alliance partners and thus promises support.
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