ANKARA, May 19. /TASS/. Ankara remains opposed to the idea of Finland’s and Sweden’s admission to NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a meeting with Turkish youth in Ankara on Thursday.
"We have told our friends that we will say ‘NO’ to Finland’s and Sweden’s admission to NATO. We will remain committed to this. We will not tolerate terrorist organizations in NATO. These countries are home to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Defense Units," Erdogan said.
Finnish and Swedish ambassadors to NATO, Klaus Korhonen and Axel Vernhoff, on Wednesday handed their countries’ applications for NATO membership to the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Speaking at the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Moscow on May 16 Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would retaliate against the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructures in Finland and Sweden. At the same time the Russian leader remarked that NATO’s admission of Finland and Sweden did not pose an immediate threat to Russia, because Moscow had no problems in relations with these countries.
Erdogan said on May 18 that Ankara would refuse to support the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO until they made a decision on their attitude to terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey regards as terrorist. He made a similar statement on May 16, adding that he was against admitting Finland and Sweden to NATO due to these countries’ refusal to extradite accomplices in KWP’s activity to Turkey. Also, Erdogan advised the Scandinavian countries not bother to send delegations in an attempt to convince Turkey of their bids. The Turkish leader repeated this statement on Wednesday.