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Turkey in NATO talks with Sweden, Finland


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who opposes the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, had telephone conversations with the leaders of the two countries and discussed his concerns about terrorist organizations.

Turkey says there are people in Sweden and Finland linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of plotting a 2016 coup attempt.

Erdogan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson that Turkey expects concrete steps to address its concerns, according to the Turkish presidency.

He also said that the arms export embargo imposed on Turkey after its invasion of Syria in 2019 should be lifted, he added.

Anderson said she appreciated the call and that Sweden hoped to strengthen bilateral relations with Turkey.

“I stressed that Sweden welcomes the possibility of cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, and stressed that Sweden clearly supports the fight against terrorism and the inclusion of the PKK in the list of terrorists,” she said in a statement.

In another call, Erdogan told Finnish President Sauli Niinistö that refusing to fight terrorist organizations that pose a threat to a NATO ally would not be in the spirit of the alliance, Ankara said.

Niinist said he had held “open and direct” talks with Erdogan and agreed to continue a close dialogue.

Turkey surprised its NATO allies last week by opposing the two countries’ accession to the military alliance, but leaders of other members have expressed confidence that Turkey’s objections will not stand in the way of the membership process.

All 30 NATO countries must give their approval before a new member can be accepted and thus take advantage of the guarantee of collective security.


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