Sunday 15 May 2022 - 07:44

Turkey clarifies position on new NATO members

Story Code : 994276
Turkey clarifies position on new NATO members

“We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,” Kalin clarified.

The official further elaborated on the position voiced by Erdogan on Friday, when the president said Ankara could not support the bids of Finland and Sweden, which are “like guesthouses for terrorist organizations.” To enter the organisation, potential inductees must get the support of all existing members.

Kalin explained that Ankara is particularly concerned about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), recognized as a terrorist organization in Turkey, as well as in the EU and the US. The issue relates primarily to Sweden, the official clarified.

“What needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organizations, individuals and other types of presence to...exist in those countries,” Kalin said. “Of course we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with [our] Swedish counterparts.”

The PKK has been a sworn enemy of Ankara for decades, with the group waging low-intensity insurgency in Kurdish-populated areas of the country’s southeast. The Turkish authorities also regard Kurdish-led militias in neighboring Iraq and Syria, including the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as offshoots of the PKK and treats them as “terrorists” as well.

Turkey has repeatedly staged incursions into those neighboring countries to fight Kurdish militants over the past few years.