ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday (May 13) that it was not possible for NATO member Turkey to support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the pact, saying the Nordic countries were “home to many terrorist organizations “.
Finland’s plan to apply for NATO membership was announced on Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden would follow it would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to prevent by launching the invasion of Ukraine.
“We are following developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t have positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that it was a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past.
Turkey has officially supported enlargement since joining NATO 70 years ago. Any decision on enlargement must be made by unanimous agreement of its members.
“As Turkey, we do not want to repeat similar mistakes. Also, the Scandinavian countries are guest houses for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said.
“They are even members of parliament in some countries. It is not possible that we are in favour,” he added.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry could not immediately comment on Erdogan’s statement.
NATO states that membership is open to any “European state in a position to promote the principles of this Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”