What happened in Erdogan's talk with Sweden, Finland over NATO entry
- Erdogan spoke on the phone with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was also present
- Erdogan has declared repeatedly in recent days that Turkey will not support Finland and Sweden's NATO membership
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone Saturday with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the Nordic countries' NATO membership application.
Erdogan has declared repeatedly in recent days that Turkey will not support Finland and Sweden's NATO membership, accusing them of acting "like guesthouses for terror organizations." Erdogan said that the two countries are home to members of the separatist militant Kurdistan Workers Party, also known as the PKK.
Last Wednesday, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO. The decision represents a setback for Moscow, with the war in Ukraine causing the kind of alliance growth that Moscow invaded Ukraine to prevent. Finland's accession would add hundreds of kilometres of direct NATO borders with Russia.
According to a statement from the Turkish presidency, Erdogan stated during the phone call with Andersson that "Turkey has for a long time emphasized that it is uncomfortable with Sweden's contacts with individuals and so-called organizations under the control of the terrorist organization PKK/YPG/PYD and Sweden's political, financial and weapon support to terrorist organizations must end."
The YPG is a Syrian Kurdish organisation in northern Syria that is backed by a number of Western countries. The YPG is an ally in the fight against ISIS, but Turkey sees it as a continuation of the PKK, which Turkey, the United States, and the European Union have labelled as a terrorist organisation.
Andersson stated that she enjoyed speaking with Turkey's president today.
According to the prime minister's Twitter account, "we look forward to strengthening our bilateral relations, including on peace, security, and the fight against terrorism."
According to the Turkish president, Erdogan warned Niinistö over the phone that "an understanding that ignores terrorist organisations that pose a threat to an ally within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance."
Niinistö also posted about it on his Twitter account "I stated that as NATO Allies, Finland and Turkey will commit to each other’s security and our relationship will thus grow stronger. Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The close dialogue continues," he said in an "open and direct" conversation with Erdogan.
According to the president, Erdogan also informed Stoltenberg over the phone that "unless Sweden and Finland clearly show that they will stand in solidarity with Turkey on fundamental issues, especially in the fight against terrorism, Turkey will not approach their NATO membership positively."
Stoltenberg stated on Twitter that "we agree that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution."
New applications must be approved by the legislatures of all 30 current alliance members.