Erdogan on NATO entry: Turkey could only agree to Finland’s entry

Status: 01/30/2023 07:31 a.m

Turkish President Erdogan threatens Sweden to only agree to Finland joining NATO. But Helsinki should not make the same mistakes as Stockholm. Turkey wants Sweden to extradite people it sees as terrorists.

Turkey has indicated its approval of Finland joining NATO, but not Sweden. “If necessary, we could give different messages about Finland,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an appearance in Bilecik province. Sweden will be “shocked when it sees our answer”. However, Finland should not make the same mistakes as Sweden.

Under the impression of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden and Finland have jointly submitted applications for NATO membership. All members must agree to this. It is the first time that Turkey has indicated its willingness to treat the Finnish candidacy separately from Sweden’s.

Turkey has accused Sweden of being too soft on what it considers terrorist organizations and threats to its security, especially Kurdish ones. Ankara said it would only agree to Sweden’s request if Stockholm met its conditions.

Turkish travel warning for European countries

Erdogan’s comments came after the Turkish government issued a travel warning for European countries on Saturday. It was in response to demonstrations in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, where an activist burned a Koran and in which pro-Kurdish groups took part.

In its travel warning, the Turkish Foreign Ministry pointed to an increase in anti-Turkish protests by “groups with ties to terrorist groups”. This meant the banned Kurdish workers’ party PKK, which is also classified as a terrorist group by the EU and the USA.

Erdogan demands expulsion of “terrorists”

Erdogan said he told Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson: “You will expel these terrorists if you really want to join NATO. If you don’t extradite these terrorists, I’m sorry.” Turkey handed Stockholm a list of 120 people it wants Sweden to expel.

The Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway recommended their citizens on Saturday to avoid large crowds and be careful when traveling in Turkey. Sweden’s foreign ministry said the embassy in Ankara will remain closed and visitors to the consulate general in Istanbul should be vigilant.

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