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Turkey threatens to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO

2022-05-13T14:01:18.961Z

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed Friday, May 13 his hostility to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, at the risk of...



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed Friday, May 13 his hostility to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, at the risk of blocking the whole process which requires the unanimity of the members of the Atlantic Alliance. .

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We don't have a positive opinion

,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, explaining that he “

does not want to see the same mistake made when Greece joined

” again.

"

We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not have a positive opinion, because they made a mistake in NATO regarding Greece before, against Turkey

", declared the head of state at the end of Friday prayers in Istanbul.

"

We don't want to make a second mistake

," he insisted.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan further criticized Stochkholm and Helsinki for serving as "

a hostel for PKK terrorists

», the Kurdistan Workers' Party classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, but also the European Union and the United States.

This statement casts a chill over a process supported up to now by most NATO members and by the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, who is ready to welcome them “

with open arms

”.

Once the decision has been taken by a third country to join, the members of NATO must in fact agree unanimously to invite it to join them.

However, Finland had expressed its confidence in Turkish support: after having met in early April on the subject with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, had then estimated on Twitter that "

Turkey supports the objectives of Finland

".

Read also“

Joining NATO: a historic turning point for Sweden and Finland

The Finnish candidacy, defended by the president and the prime minister, must be formalized by the executive tandem this Sunday, after the meeting of a government council.

And on Friday, an official Swedish report paved the way for the country's accession to NATO, multiplying the favorable conclusions before the decision of the Nordic country and its Finnish neighbor in the coming days.

"

Pro-Russian

"

Moscow had denounced in advance a decision which "

certainly

" would constitute a threat against Russia and would have "

consequences (...) for the European security architecture as a whole

".

However, since the beginning of the crisis and then the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Ankara has done everything to maintain good relations with the two belligerent countries, on which its economy depends closely and although it provides combat drones to kyiv.

She even hosted talks between the two twice in March, in Antalya (south) then Istanbul.

For Soner Cagaptay, an analyst at the Washington Institute contacted by AFP, this attitude “

risks making Turkey appear within NATO as a pro-Russian country, like Hungary in Europe

”.

His reasons may be legitimate, but it risks damaging Ankara's image within NATO,

” he adds, judging that these objections “

should have been negotiated behind closed doors

”.

Read alsoNATO: France “fully supports the sovereign choice” of Finland

After decades out of military alliances, Helsinki and Stockholm, both non-aligned, are ready to officially announce their candidacy for NATO, a direct consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to the latest polls, half of some 10 million Swedes are now in favor of joining the alliance, a share that rises to two-thirds if Finland also joins.

And in Finland, which shares 1,300 kilometers of border with Russia, more than three quarters of the population of 5.5 million people want to join the NATO umbrella.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu is due to attend an informal meeting in Berlin this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with his peers from NATO countries.

According to the ministry, the purpose of the meeting is to assess “

ongoing business

” within the Alliance.

The prospect of a possible Turkish veto to its enlargement will undoubtedly be on the table.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-05-13

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