Jonathan Spicer, Orhan Coskun and Can Sezer
ISTANBUL (Reuters – Turkey does not want Sweden or Finland to join NATO, but it would like negotiations with Nordic countries. It also wants a clampdown against what it considers terrorist activities in Stockholm.
“We’re not shutting the door. “But we are basically raising the issue as a matter national security for Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin (also president’s top advisor on foreign policy) told Reuters during an interview in Istanbul.
Erdogan shocked NATO member countries and two Nordic countries that are interested in joining by saying Friday that Turkey could not support the expansion of the alliance as Finland and Sweden were home to “many terrorist organisations”.
All members must support any country that wants to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. Ankara has been under pressure from the United States and its member countries.
Sweden and Finland are its nearest military partners. NATO was created in 1949 in order to combat the Soviet Union’s Cold War aggression. Although the two nations are cautious about antagonizing their big neighbour, their security worries have grown since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.
Stockholm, widely anticipated to follow Helsinki’s lead, could request entry into the military alliance of 30 nations as soon as Monday.
Kalin claimed that militant Kurdistan Workers Party was a terrorist organization, and had been designated by Turkey, the United States and Europe. Kalin also stated its role in fund-raising in Europe.
Kalin stated that the PKK must be stopped from allowing outlets, activities and organisations of PKK, as well as individuals, to…exist in these countries.
NATO membership has always been a complicated process. We’ll watch how it goes. “But this is the first issue that we want all allies to pay attention to as well as the Swedish authorities,” he said. He said, “Officially we would like to have a conversation and a negotiation avec our Swedish counterparts.”
MUTUAL POINT VIEW’
Turkey is the NATO’s second largest military and has supported NATO’s enlargement support since joining the U.S.-led alliance over 70 years.
The Turkish government has long criticised Sweden, and other European countries, for how they handle terrorist organisations by Turkey.
NATO’s founding treaty Article 5 states that an attack against any NATO country must be viewed as an attack upon all. Although Sweden and Finland are close allies of NATO for many years, their security guarantees do not cover them.
Turkey has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supported Ukraine in arming it. Turkey tried to encourage talks between them but opposed sanctions against Moscow. Kalin explained that it wants NATO to “reach out and address all member concerns” rather than just some.
When asked if Turkey was too transactional in a wartime, when Finnish and Swedish public opinions favor NATO membership, he replied: “One hundred per cent of our population are very upset about the PKK (Gulenists) presence in Europe.”
He stated that if they (Finland or Sweden) have a population concerned about their national security, then we also have one concerned about our security.” This must be seen from both sides.
Kalin claimed that Russia’s criticism of Finland’s plans and Sweden’s was no factor in Turkey’s current position.