Erdogan: Turkey will not change stance on Sweden, Finland’s NATO bids until they take concrete steps

Turkey will not change its stance on Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO bids until they take clear, concrete, and decisive steps in their fight against terrorism, Turkish president said on Wednesday.

Turkey will not stand by Sweden while terrorist organizations act freely on Swedish streets, and it will not leave the blood of the country’s “martyrs” on the ground, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party.

“While the fallen of our country are tearing our hearts out on a daily basis, no one can expect concessions from us on this issue. Let me underline that Turkey has no time to lose with expectations or ambivalent remarks regarding the issue,” he stated.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on February 24.

However, Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Their accession requires the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member countries.

On Wednesday, Erdogan spoke with the NATO chief over the phone and reiterated the steps required to address Ankara’s “legitimate” concerns over the NATO bids of Finland and Sweden.

According to a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Jens Stoltenberg that no progress can be achieved without seeing “concrete steps” by both Finland and Sweden that would meet Turkey’s “rightful expectations.”

The steps might include written commitments to a paradigm shift in fighting terrorism and defense industry cooperation, it said.

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg said on Twitter that he held a “constructive conversation” with Erdogan ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid that will be held on June 29-30.

“We discussed the importance of addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns on the fight against terrorism and making progress in the NATO accession process for Finland and Sweden,” he added.

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