President Erdogan says Turkey won't approve Finland or Sweden NATO bids

He accused the countries of supporting terrorists

Updated: May 16, 2022 - 5:17pm

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said his country will oppose Finland and Sweden's bids to join NATO.

Turkey's disapproval comes one day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States will support Finland and Sweden in joining the military alliance.

"First of all, we would not say ‘yes’ to those who impose sanctions on Turkey to join NATO, a security organization, during this process," Erdogan told reporters, as translated, during a press conference Monday meant to focus on relations with Algeria.

While Finland and Sweden have been mostly neutral since the end of World War II, their bid to join NATO comes in response to Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. 

Erdogan accused the Nordic countries of not cracking down on terrorist organizations.

"Sweden is already the incubation center of terrorist organizations, they bring terrorists in their parliaments, make them talk there, and issue special invitations. There are even pro-[Kurdistan Workers' Party] terrorists in their parliaments. What are we going to trust?" he said. 

The Turkish president has been accused of violating the human rights of minority groups, notably the Kurds, during his nearly two decades in power.

Erdogan warned that if Sweden and Finland join the alliance, "then NATO ceases to be a security organization and becomes a place where the representatives of terrorists are concentrated."

In March, Turkey hosted diplomatic talks between Ukraine and Russia to try to de-escalate the conflict.