Longstanding NATO member Turkey opposes Finland and Sweden seeking to join the North Atlantic Alliance and president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens with veto. He also accused Greece, a NATO ally, of using the alliance against Turkey, saying Ankara did not want a repeat of that “mistake,” when the NATO accepted the Greek return to the military flank.
“We are currently following the developments. We currently do not have a positive position on the issue of Sweden and Finland (joining NATO),” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayer in Istanbul.
He said that those “Scandinavian countries are like terrorist groups guesthouses,” and added: “There are supporters of terrorism in parliament. We cannot be positive towards this.”
State-run news agency anadolu that quote Erdogan’s statements added that “in July 2020, Turkiye slammed a video meeting between Sweden’s foreign minister and members of the terrorist group YPG/PKK, the Syrian branch of the PKK. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the incident “raises serious question marks about Sweden’s approach to combating terrorism as a matter of priority.”
Under NATO rules, any decision on enlargement must be made “by unanimous agreement,” effectively giving Turkiye the power to veto any new members, the news agency added.
The president and prime minister of Finland said Thursday they’re in favor of rapidly applying for NATO membership, paving the country’s way to formally announce membership bid in the coming days.
According to AP, a report by the Swedish government on the changed security environment facing the Nordic country after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine says Moscow would react negatively to Sweden joining NATO and launch several countermeasures.
The Swedish government’s security policy analysis, which will be used as a basis for Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Cabinet to decide whether to seek membership in the Western military alliance, was presented to Swedish lawmakers Friday.
Sweden’s governing Social Democratic Party, led by Andersson, is expected to reveal its decision on Sunday.