Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Sweden should not expect Turkey to approve its NATO entry bid without returning “terrorists,” and Swedish and Finnish delegations should not come to Turkey to convince it to back their membership in the alliance.
Earlier that day, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO military alliance, a decision spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the accession process expected to take only a few weeks despite Turkey’s objections.
Ankara says Sweden and Finland harbour people it says are linked to groups it deems terrorists, namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.
“We have such a sensitivity as protecting our borders from attacks by terrorist organizations,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling AK Party in parliament.
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