Swedish, Finnish delegations shouldn’t bother to visit Ankara: Turkey’s president
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that there is no need for Finnish and Swedish diplomatic delegations to visit Turkey if they are coming to convince Ankara of their NATO bid.
“Will they come to convince us? Excuse us, but you don’t need to bother,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Ankara.
Neither Sweden nor Finland has a “clear and unequivocal stance against terrorist organizations,” he said, adding that “NATO then will cease to be a security organization.”
“First of all, we will not say ‘yes’ to those who impose sanctions on Turkey to join the security organization NATO,” he said.
Ankara says Sweden and Finland harbor people that are affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Gulen Movement, which the Turkish government accuses of infiltrating into the state bureaucracy and then attempting a coup on July 15, 2016.
The two countries rejected Turkey’s request for the extradition of several suspects who were affiliated with the PKK or the Gulen Movement, the Turkish Justice Ministry said on Monday.
Sweden and Finland proposed to work with Ankara towards eliminating Turkey’s concerns regarding their NATO membership, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday, adding that Ankara demands “security guarantees” from the two countries along with lifting defense export restrictions imposed on Turkey.
Swedish and Finnish delegations are set to visit Turkey in the coming days to discuss their intention to join NATO, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.
Elaborating on ties with Algeria, Erdogan said “we are giving a new impetus to our relations with this historic visit from Algeria to our country after 17 years at the presidential level.”
The last visit by an Algerian president to Turkey was in 2005.
As part of the visit, Tebboune and Erdogan chaired the first session of the High-Level Cooperation Council between the two countries.