Turkey Says No To Finland, Sweden NATO membership

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

ANKARA/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will not approve of Sweden and Finland obtaining NATO membership.

The two Nordic countries confirmed that they would seek NATO membership, ending decades of military nonalignment amid concerns about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, Erdogan said the two countries seeking to join the world’s most powerful military alliance support Kurdish militants whom Ankara views as “terrorists.”

He added that they failed to extradite to deport dozens of suspects and that Swedish and Finnish delegations “should not bother” to travel to Ankara to change his mind.

Scandinavian countries “are guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan claimed in separate remarks. These groups include the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, and the followers of the United States-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Ankara has said Gulenists carried out a coup attempt in 2016, but they deny the accusation.

All 30 NATO members must unanimously give the green light for the two historically neutral countries to join the alliance.


Analysts say, however, that there will eventually be a compromise as Ankara has also sought to use Sweden and Finland’s membership bid as leverage to end sanctions.

Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system has been one of the critical issues that strained relations between Turkey and the United States in recent years.

In July 2019, the U.S. removed Ankara from its critical F-35 fighter jet program days after Turkey received the first delivery of the Russian S-400s.

Washington and NATO allies say using Russian missile defense by a NATO member is dangerous for NATO’s defense systems.

Turkey says it decided to buy the missile system as then U.S. President Barack Obama’s stalled on a sale of the U.S. Patriot air defense system, widely used by NATO member states.

Mensur Akgun, professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Kultur University, told Al Jazeera television that “Ankara has been under U.S. sanctions over F-35 fighter jets and is not happy about it,” Akgun said.


Turkey has also condemned Washington’s support for armed Kurdish groups in Syria.

Diplomatic deadlocks over NATO expansion have happened before.

Most recently, Greece held up Macedonia’s admission to the bloc for years in protest over the country’s name, which the Greeks regarded as stealing Greek heritage.

Athens and Skopje signed an accord in 2019, in which Macedonia changed its name to North Macedonia. Greece then removed its objections to the country joining NATO.

Akgun says Turkey has historically been in favor of the expansion of NATO and that there will be a compromise. At the end of the day, historically, Turkey has never undermined a NATO consensus and will still try not to do it. However, it will not be unconditional.”

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