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Finland, Sweden can’t join NATO until Turkey’s concerns are met – Ankara — RT World News

Turkey says its demands are ‘concrete’ and Nordic states must accept them to join alliance

Following discussions in Ankara on Wednesday, Turkish government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters that his government would not allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO until Turkey had “concrete” security concerns regarding terrorism and sanctions are met. Kalin added that Ankara would not rush to an agreement before the next NATO meeting.

Delegations from Sweden and Finland met their Turkish counterparts in Ankara for five hours of talks following their joint applications to join the NATO military alliance last week. Joining them requires the unanimous consent of all 30 member states, and Turkey has threatened to block the process unless the two countries crack down on groups it considers terrorists.

“Without addressing Turkey’s security concerns, any NATO enlargement process cannot continue,” he added. Kalin said at a press conference after the talks. “NATO is a security organization” he said, adding that this means the alliance must ensure that “the security concerns of member states are equally and fairly met”.

Finland, Sweden can’t join NATO until Turkey’s concerns are met – Ankara — RT World News

Turkey has demanded that Sweden and Finland lift arms export restrictions to Turkey and extradite people linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement (FETO). While Sweden and Finland both consider the PKK a terrorist organization, Turkey has also demanded that they apply the same designation to the YPG and PYD, the Kurdish military and political groups in Syria, respectively.

Kalin said the Turkish side urges Sweden to crack down on its domestic PKK sympathizers and their funding and media operations. Sweden in particular has been singled out by Turkey, with Ankara accusing Stockholm of arming the Kurds with anti-tank weapons, which are used in the ongoing border dispute between the Kurds and Turkey.

Swedish and Finnish officials will now return to their capitals to discuss Turkey’s demands, which Kalin described as “concrete.” The accession process of the two Nordic states can only continue “in a way that will address Turkey’s security concerns”, he said.

NATO leaders are due to meet in Madrid, Spain, at the end of next month, but Kalin said Turkey is “not under time pressure” reach an agreement with Sweden and Finland by then.

Turkey demands concessions from NATO candidate

Both Sweden and Finland have cited the Russian military operation in Ukraine as motivating them to join the US-led NATO alliance. Their membership bids have been warmly welcomed in Washington and by European NATO leaders, with the exception of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, who have threatened to obstruct their bids unless that the alliance does not deal with the alleged legal persecution of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Moscow called the two countries’ candidacies for NATO “serious mistake with lasting ramifications.” Yet Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that Russia viewed the two countries’ NATO aspirations as less of a concern than those of Ukraine, where potential territorial disputes “would have carried enormous risks for the whole continent.”

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