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Turkey to reiterate demands for Nordic countries’ NATO bids

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Turkey will reiterate its demands and expectations from Sweden and Finland on their NATO membership processes, which include the tackling of terrorist organizations, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said

Speaking to reporters following a conference in the capital Ankara, Kalın said as NATO is a security alliance and not an economic cooperation organization, they expect Sweden and Finland to end the existence of terrorist groups operating in their countries such as the PKK, PYD, YPG, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), DHKP-C and their front organizations.

Ankara also expects complete prevention of any funds collected, recruitment of personnel, activities and propaganda against Turkey, he added.

“I would like to express once again that the process will not progress until such threats against Turkey’s security in these countries are eliminated,” Kalın said.

Kalın’s statements came as he and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal held talks in Brussels on Sunday to work on Sweden’s and Finland’s applications for NATO membership.

He also criticized the recent event in which the PKK projected its so-called flag and leader on buildings in Stockholm. The projection of images belonging to the terrorist group PKK on buildings in Stockholm is one of the most striking examples of the extent that which the PKK is deployed in this country and how spoiled it is, Kalın underlined.

Speaking on the upcoming NATO leaders summit in Spain, Kalın said: “The Madrid Summit is, of course, an extremely important summit in NATO’s history. Because here, both the revision of the strategic concept paper and the Ukraine-Russia war, food security, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and other security issues will be discussed in detail. The summit is extremely important in this sense. However, we do not see the Madrid Summit as a historical turning point for Sweden and Finland’s membership process.”

Meanwhile, Sweden said it is investigating the social media posts showing the YPG/PKK terrorist group’s so-called flag and its convicted ringleader, Abdullah Öcalan, reflected onto landmark buildings in Stockholm.

“Messages and images that we have reason to believe are manipulated have been circulating on social media, asserting that Sweden supports PKK. Relevant measures have been taken,” the ministry said in a statement.

“This is a deliberate and malicious influence campaign with the clear aim of obstructing Sweden’s accession to NATO,” it said.

Sweden has denounced the PKK terrorist group and condemns terrorism in all its forms, it noted.

Foreign Minister Ann Linde has never expressed any support for the terrorist group and strongly rejects the manipulated video and the PKK, it added.

YPG/PKK-linked social media accounts shared images showing the terrorist group’s so-called flag and its leader’s picture projected onto the historic City Hall in Stockholm.

The accounts also posted the images on the wall of the Globen Avicii Arena Sports Hall.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Stockholm Hakkı Emre Yunt told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he confirmed the incident during his morning meeting with the diplomatic police.

“Police confirmed the image on the Globen Avicii Arena Sports Hall in Stockholm. Police also stated that the image projected on the historic city hall in Stockholm is most likely correct,” said Yunt.

Russia’s war on Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to formally apply to join NATO on May 18.

But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK and its Syrian wing, the YPG, as well as for weapons embargoes against the country.

While the two Nordic countries said talks to resolve the dispute would continue, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said recently that Ankara had not received any responses to its demands, including stopping support for terrorist groups, lifting arms embargoes on Ankara and extraditing terrorism suspects it seeks.

Any bid to join NATO requires unanimous backing from each of its 30 members.

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