Erdogan: Turkey “not positive” about Sweden and Finland joining NATO

turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogancast doubt on the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO, saying that he did not have a positive opinion about the joining of the two northern countries to the military alliance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

His comments came as a Swedish parliamentary security review said membership would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe. Finland said He intended to join the alliance.

Finland and Sweden, both NATO partners, have long viewed membership as an unnecessary provocation to Russia, its powerful eastern neighbor. However, Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine led to a radical rethink of its security policies.

NATO membership requires the attestation of all current members, and Erdogan commented to reporters after leaving Friday prayers in Istanbul that turkey Would not welcome either.

“We are currently following developments related to Sweden and Finland, but we don’t feel positive about it.”

It was Turkey NATO Member since 1952 and its membership remains the cornerstone of its foreign policy towards Western countries. The comments appeared directed at the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, although it appears to include Kurdish-origin communities in Scandinavia as a whole.

“We don’t want to make a mistake,” he added. Scandinavian countries like guest houses for terrorist organizations. Going forward, they have seats in their parliaments as well.”

Sweden has a large Kurdish community, and prominent Swedish citizens of Kurdish origin currently include six members of Parliament. Turkish authorities have provided no evidence for allegations that members of parliament have links to the PKK or similar groups outside Sweden.

The Kurdish-speaking population of Finland was estimated At just over 15,000 people as of 2020, that’s less than 0.3% of the population.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Friday urged patience and called for a phased approach to respond to Turkey. “We need some patience in this kind of process… it won’t happen in one day… let’s take the issues step by step,” he told reporters.

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, and its president, Sauli Niinistö, said on Thursday that the country “should apply for NATO membership without delay.” The government is expected to confirm the decision on Sunday, with parliament likely to approve it as early as next week.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats will also decide whether to formally agree to join NATO on Sunday, and it is widely expected to drop opposition decades of membership. Parliament will discuss security issues on Monday.

The security review published Friday made no recommendation, but said that developing defense alliances outside of existing structures is not realistic.

Swedish NATO membership will raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have an impact on conflict prevention in the north EuropeThe country’s foreign minister, Anne Lind, introduced the report’s conclusions.

“The most important consequence of Sweden’s membership will be that Sweden will be part of NATO’s collective security and included in the security guarantees in accordance with Article 5 [of the alliance’s founding treaty]She said.

Article 5, a cornerstone of the US-led defense alliance, states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all and obligates its existing 30 members to defend each other in the event of armed aggression.

The Swedish report, due to be discussed in Parliament on Monday, noted that “within the current cooperation framework, there is no guarantee of assistance to Sweden if it is the target of a serious threat or attack.”

The daily Expressen reports that a special cabinet meeting will be called after Monday’s parliamentary debate, with the Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, likely to send Sweden’s membership application to NATO by the end of the day.

Not all members of the ruling Social Democrats are automatically supporters. “I think everyone would have wanted more time for this, because it’s a huge issue,” Stefan Lofven, prime minister from 2014 to 2021, told AFP.

Moscow had previously warned that Finnish and Swedish NATO membership would force it to do so “restore balance” By strengthening its defenses in the Baltic Sea, including by deploying nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania.

Lind noted that Finnish and Swedish NATO membership would be considered “negative” by Russia. She said neither country expected a “conventional military attack” in response, but added that “an armed attack cannot be ruled out.”

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Sweden’s Defense Minister, Peter Hultqvist, said on Friday: “If Sweden chooses to seek NATO membership, there is a risk of a reaction from Russia. Let me state that, in such a case, we are ready to deal with any backlash.”

Public support for NATO membership in Finland, which shares an 810-mile (1,300 km) border with Russia, has more than tripled to about 76% since the Russian attack on Ukraine, and has risen to about 60% in Sweden.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said both countries would be “welcome with open arms” and that the accession process would be fast, although formal approval by all members of the alliance could take several months.