Turkish president tells allies it will not accept Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO

Celine Alkhaldi and Yusuf Gezer

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday his country “will say no to Sweden’s and Finland’s entry into NATO,” reiterating the same stance he took last week.

“We told relevant friends that we will say no to Sweden’s and Finland’s entry into NATO and we will continue our path like that,” Erdogan said during a conference with students in Ankara.

 “NATO is a security organization and we cannot accept the presence of terrorists organizations in there,” he said. Earlier this week Erdogan accused both countries of housing Kurdish “terrorist organizations.”

Erdogan was mainly referencing the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) which seeks an independent state in Turkey. The group has been in an armed struggle with Ankara for decades and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Finland and Sweden have a Kurdish community, although Erdogan provided no detail as to whom he was referring.

Both Nordic countries formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday, a decision prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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