President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said Turkey will not approve Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO, as he criticized them for failing to take a clear stance against terrorism.
Erdoğan’s remarks came after the Nordic countries officially announced their intention to apply for the membership of the military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Ankara has said it would block expansion.
Any membership bid must be unanimously approved by NATO’s 30 members.
“Neither of the countries has a clear stance against terror organizations,” Erdoğan told a joint news conference with Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Ankara.
Erdoğan called Sweden a “hatchery” for terrorist organizations and added that they had terrorists in their parliament.
“First of all, we will not say ‘yes’ to those (countries) who apply sanctions to Turkey to join the security organization NATO,” he said.
Senior representatives of Sweden and Finland plan to travel to Turkey for talks to address Ankara’s objections, the Swedish foreign office said Monday.
However, Erdoğan said they “should not bother” coming to convince Turkey to approve their NATO bids.
“They say they will come to Turkey on Monday. Will they come to persuade us? Excuse us, but they shouldn’t bother,” he noted.