Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey would not approve a Swedish and Finnish membership in NATO.
The case is being updated.
The message comes shortly after Sweden and Finland send a delegation to Turkey to discuss the countries’ NATO application.
“They do not have to bother coming here to convince Turkey to approve the applications,” Erdogan said at a news conference on the Finnish and Swedish delegations.
Earlier it was announced that the meeting would be at ministerial level, but the ministers will not join Turkey, according to the Swedish news agency TT.
Back and forth
On Monday, it became clear that Sweden will apply for NATO membership after Finland did the same on Sunday. The application will be submitted no later than Wednesday, according to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
All 30 NATO member states must approve new member states. Earlier, it created unrest when Turkey was critical of the countries joining the defense alliance.
Later there have been reports that Turkey does not intend to block them from becoming membersaccording to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
But now Erdogan says again that he will not approve Sweden and Finland’s membership.
Expert: Emphasizes that he means business
Paul Levin, head of the Institute for Turkey Studies at Stockholm University, says Monday’s proposal from Erdogan may be an expression that he feels that his first statement did not get the serious answer he wanted.
– This is a way to emphasize that he means business. It is a signal to Sweden not to take their demands and dissatisfaction lightly, Levin told VG on Monday night.
– At the same time, it is not the last word. Erdogan has not said that he never will approve the membership, says Levin.
Erdogan’s objections to Swedish and Finnish NATO membership are a bargaining chip, Turkey experts have stated to VG before.
Pointing to terrorism
The Turkish president was also out on Friday and announced that he would not give the green light for the Nordic countries’ applications for NATO membership.
“Incorporating them into the alliance would be a mistake,” the Turkish president said on Friday.
Turkey has previously stated that Sweden will be a free port for what it considers “terrorists”, ie members of the pro-Kurdish militant group PKK and supporters of Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara has accused of being behind the 2016 coup attempt.
At the press conference on Monday, Erdogan repeated his accusations. He says that Sweden and Finland do not “have a crystal clear position against the terrorist organization” and probably refers to the PKK.
Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said that Norway’s security is strengthened by neighboring countries joining NATO. President of the Storting Masud Gharahkhani promises that Norway’s support for membership of neighboring countries, which is finally decided by the Stortingwill go fast.