Sweden, Finland must first address Turkiye's security concerns: Erdogan

Türkiye Materials 28 June 2022 22:22 (UTC +04:00)
Sweden, Finland must first address Turkiye's security concerns: Erdogan

If Sweden and Finland will be NATO members, they need to first take Turkiye's concerns into consideration, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.

Addressing reporters in the capital Ankara ahead of his trip to the critical NATO Madrid summit where he will meet the leaders of the Nordic nations and NATO, Erdogan said that Turkiye does not want empty words, but rather concrete results from these countries.

"NATO membership comes with responsibilities. If Sweden and Finland are to become members of NATO, they have to take into account the security concerns of Turkiye, a member of the alliance for 70 years," he said.

"We will hold a quadripartite meeting (on Sweden and Finland's membership bids) and see what point they have reached. We do not want dry words, we want results. We are sick of passing the ball around in the mid-field. As of now, they are producing words," Erdogan said.

He added that Ankara expects Stockholm and Helsinki to prevent the terrorist PKK and all other offshoots from operating freely in their countries.

Erdogan also stated that he spoke to United States President Joe Biden earlier in the day and added that Biden wants to meet with him on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid.

"We spoke with Mr. Biden this morning and he expressed his desire to get together tonight or tomorrow. We said it was possible," he told reporters.

Later in the day, the White House confirmed the planned meeting and added that leaders at the Madrid summit will also take "historic decisions to strengthen the alliance's collective defense and security."

Erdogan reiterated Ankara's criticism of NATO allies, particularly the U.S., for their support of the PKK terrorist group's Syrian branch YPG.

"We expect from our allies not to discriminate between NATO members, and that threat against one should be interpreted as a threat against all," the president said adding that he would explain Turkiye's position to allies at the summit and in bilateral meetings.

Erdogan signaled over the weekend that no progress had been made in Sweden's bid to join NATO, urging Stockholm to take "concrete actions" to meet Ankara's concerns.

He also said Monday after the Cabinet meeting that Turkiye "will provide documents and images demonstrating our interlocutors' hypocrisy" toward groups Ankara views as terrorists.

Erdoğan also said he will do “whatever is necessary for our country’s rights and interests” at the NATO summit in Spain.

“We will tell them clearly that it is not possible to expect a different attitude from Turkey unless this picture changes,” he added.