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Turkey raises its tone and says it will bar Finland and Sweden from joining NATO

Presidente Erdogan afirmou que representantes de Estocolmo e Helsinque nem devem “se dar ao trabalho” de ir à Turquia para tentar convencê-lo

President Erdogan stated that representatives from Stockholm and Helsinki should not even “give to work” to go to Turkey to try to convince him| Photo: EFE/EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised his tone this Monday (16) and said that his country will bar Finland and Sweden from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Western military alliance.

Last week, the Turkish leader had already said that he did not see “positively” the possible accession of the two Nordic countries, claiming that both would shelter members of Kurdish terrorist organizations.

This Monday On Friday, the Swedish government announced that it had formally decided to apply for NATO membership, a day after Finland expressed the same position. Once militarily neutral, the two countries changed their position on joining the alliance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“None of these countries has a clear and open attitude towards terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said at a press conference on Monday. “How can we trust them?”

The Turkish president also refuted information from Stockholm that senior representatives from Sweden and Finland are to travel to Turkey to discuss Erdogan’s allegations. “They are coming to Turkey. Are they coming to convince us? Sorry, but they shouldn’t bother,” Erdogan said.

According to information from Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber, reproduced by Reuters, Sweden and Finland have not approved the repatriation of 33 persons accused by Turkey of having links with terrorism. Another obstacle is that the two Nordic countries imposed sanctions on Turkey after its intervention in the civil war in Syria, in 2019.

Over the weekend, a spokesman for Erdogan had said that Turkey would not prevent Sweden and Finland from joining NATO, but required negotiations and measures related to groups that Ankara considers terrorists.

A possible Turkish refusal to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO would be a problem, because Turkey is part of the alliance and the organization’s charter stipulates that, in order for a country to become a member, it needs to be unanimously accepted by those who already integrate it.

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