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Sweden's Erdogan blow to Nato expansion

Turkey President's repeated harsh criticism raises new questions about what will satisfy him sufficiently to back the intergovernmental military alliance's membership for Sweden and Finland
Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde signs the country’s application for Nato membership in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde signs the country’s application for Nato membership in Stockholm on Tuesday.
TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery via Reuters

Steven Erlanger, Safak Timur   |   Published 18.05.22, 01:38 AM

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Monday repeated his harsh criticism of Sweden as a haven for Kurdish separatists he regards as terrorists, raising new questions about what will satisfy him sufficiently to back the Nato membership for Sweden and Finland.

Erdogan said last week that Turkey would not view positively the applications of the two countries for Nato membership, but largely kept his criticism to Sweden, which has been welcoming to Kurdish refugees.

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Having now declared that they would apply to join Nato, Sweden and Finland said that they would send senior diplomats to Ankara to discuss Turkey’s disquiet.

On Monday, however, Erdogan told them not to bother. “Are they coming to convince us? Excuse me, but they should not tire themselves,” he said in a news conference.

Both countries fail to have a clear stance against terrorism, Erdogan said, and they refuse to extradite “terrorists” to Turkey.

Earlier on Monday, state-run news channel TRT Haber reported that Turkey asked Finland and Sweden to return 33 people with alleged links to two groups Turkey deems to be terrorist organisations. But the two countries refused.

Erdogan said that if Finland and Sweden join Nato, “then it becomes a place where representatives of terrorists are concentrated.

New York Times News Service



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