Despite efforts by the defense alliance to reach an agreement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again criticized the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
One cannot agree to the accession of countries that have imposed sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan said in Ankara on Monday. He again accused both countries of supporting “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had already criticized at the weekend that there were export restrictions on armaments because of Turkey’s fight against these groups and called for them to be lifted.
Erdogan further said with regard to the visit of a Finnish and Swedish delegation to Turkey, they should not even bother. “Will they come to convince us? If so, no offense, they shouldn’t bother,” he said.
The Turkish President had already caused unrest in the alliance last week with negative statements about the possible NATO accession of Finland and Sweden and said that the Scandinavian countries were downright “guest houses for terrorist organizations”. The secretary general of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, however, said after a meeting of foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday that Turkey had no intention of “blocking” the admission of Sweden and Finland.
Previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin had again stated that his country would react to the planned expansion of NATO to include Sweden and Finland. The expansion of NATO is a problem, says Putin in Moscow. Russia has no problems with the two Nordic countries.
However, he will react to the expansion of the military infrastructure there. In addition, Russia must also keep in mind that NATO wants to expand its global influence. The Russian government believes that Sweden and Finland joining NATO would be a mistake with far-reaching consequences.
According to the Office of the President, Russia will closely monitor the NATO membership applications of the two Nordic countries. “This is a serious matter. This is a matter that worries us, and we will follow very closely what the consequences of Finland and Sweden joining NATO will be in terms of our security (…),” said Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Russian leadership is convinced that joining the two countries in the US-led military alliance would in no way strengthen Europe’s security architecture, Peskov said.
Such a step would radically change the global situation, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov of the Russian news agency Interfax. Sweden and Finland should have no illusions that Russia would take their decision so lightly, Ryabkov said.