Erdogan Does Not Support the Entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO - They Sheltered TerroristsWorld | May 13, 2022, Friday // 17:19| views
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) @Wikimedia Commons
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey cannot support Sweden's and Finland's plans to join the pact because the Scandinavian countries were "home to many terrorist organizations".
Finland's plan to apply for NATO membership on Thursday and the expectation that Sweden will follow will lead to the expansion of the Western military alliance, which Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent by launching an invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey has officially backed enlargement since joining NATO 70 years ago. Any decision on enlargement must be taken unanimously by the members.
"We are following developments with regard to Sweden and Finland, but we do not hold positive views," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that it was a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past.
"We do not want to repeat such mistakes. In addition, the Scandinavian countries have sheltered terrorist organizations," Erdogan said. "They even have MPs in some countries. It is impossible to be in favor," he added.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry did not comment on Erdogan's statement, according to Reuters.
NATO leaders say membership is open to any "European country that is able to uphold the principles of this treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area".
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