Turkey’s concerns not eased on Finland, Sweden’s NATO bid: Erdogan

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Racep Tayyip Erdogan

Ankara : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara’s concerns over Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO were not responded to with any substantial steps.

Erdogan told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a phone call that Finland and Sweden had to take sincere and tangible steps over the harbouring of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) within their borders, reports Xinhua news agency.

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The President pointed out that the military and industrial sanctions on Turkey should be lifted and not be put back into effect after the accession.

In a separate call, Erdogan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that there was no change of attitude by the country regarding PKK and YPG and it was yet to take solid steps aimed at quelling Turkey’s concerns.

Erdogan also reiterated Turkey’s expectations of lifting all sanctions on the defence and weapons industries.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May following the Russia-Ukraine war that erupted in February.

NATO allies, except for Turkey, have welcomed the two countries’ proposals.

Accession of new member states requires consensus among existing NATO members.

Ankara, however, citing the Swedish and Finnish ties with the PKK and other anti-Turkey groups, objected to their entry into the alliance.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Ankara government for more than three decades.

Turkey also accuses the two countries of harbouring members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara says is behind the failed military coup attempt in 2016.— IANS

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