ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed his objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO on Saturday with the leaders of the two Nordic countries, Erdogan’s office said.
He spoke with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in separate calls to address Ankara’s concerns about those it considers terrorists in their country, the presidential communications office said. in a press release.
He said Erdogan called on Sweden to lift the defensive arms export restrictions it imposed on Turkey during Turkey’s 2019 incursion into northern Syria. Erdogan also said he expected Stockholm to take “concrete and serious action” against the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other groups Turkey considers terrorists.
READ MORE: To what extent does the Turkish Erdogan refuse the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO?
He told Niinisto “an understanding that ignores terrorist organizations that pose a threat to an ally within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance,” the statement added.
In another call, the Turkish president also conveyed Turkey’s concerns to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he would listen to Turkey’s concerns on the matter.
On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson traveled to Washington, where they discussed with US President Joe Biden their candidacy for NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While other NATO countries appear to be in favor of Finland and Sweden joining, Turkey has raised objections to their membership, mainly due to the presence of suspected terrorists in their country and the blocking of arms sales.