Turkey accuses NATO members of supporting terrorism
Finland and Sweden aren’t the only countries in Europe that support terrorists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed during an address to parliament on Wednesday.
The Turkish leader accused France, Germany and the Netherlands of aiding organizations that are deemed by Ankara to be terrorists, such as the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and FETO, which is suspected of attempting a coup in Turkey in 2016.
Commenting on the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Erdogan stated that the bloc is “a security organization, not a support for terrorist organizations,” adding that there are other NATO members guilty of aiding extremists.
“They protect these terrorist organizations together with the police of Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and the Netherlands,” said Erdogan, apparently referring to the recent PKK ‘Long March’ demonstrations that have been taking place in those countries.
Yesterday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry officially summoned the ambassadors from Germany and France to hand them a note of protest for allowing the PKK’s unhindered activity in their countries.
“How can Turkey approve of Swedish, and Finnish NATO bids, given that terror affiliates freely roam, hold rallies there?” asked Erdogan, adding that Ankara has still not received any indication or any written guarantee from the two Nordic countries that they will fulfill any of Turkey’s demands.
He also accused the two countries of trying to manipulate public perception of the PKK group by changing the spelling of the organization and rebranding it as the PYD/YPG. Erdogan insisted that these countries were only fooling themselves.
Finland and Sweden both decided to break with their history of neutrality on May 15, citing Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine as motivation for them to join NATO. Their membership bids were welcomed by Washington and its European NATO allies, however, Turkey and Croatia have threatened to obstruct the applications unless their national security concerns are addressed.
Ankara has demanded that both Sweden and Finland immediately cease support for what it describes as an anti-Turkish terrorist organization, and extradite their members to face trial. It also demands the lifting of sanctions that the two Nordic countries have imposed on it.
President Erdogan has insisted that unless these conditions are fulfilled there is no way that Ankara will give the green light for the two countries to join the US-led military alliance. On Sunday, he even stated that as long as he is the president of Turkey, he will never allow a nation supporting terrorism to joint NATO.