Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set out his conditions for backing Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership bids in a series of phone calls on Saturday.
He reiterated his insistence that his Western allies make concessions that address Ankara’s security concerns and pave the way for new arms deals.
Sweden and Finland have both applied to join NATO, ending their neutral stance after Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine altered the security situation in Europe.
Ankara will not take a positive approach to NATO’s expansion unless Sweden and Finland support Turkey in “fundamental issues, particularly fighting terrorism,” Erdogan told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a phone call on Saturday, his office said.
“We agree that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution,” Stoltenberg tweeted after their call.
Earlier, Erdogan spoke separately with the leaders of Sweden and Finland, reiterating that he would only support their membership bids in exchange for an end to support for what Ankara sees as “terrorist” groups and an easing of restrictions on weapons purchases.
By terrorist groups, Erdogan was referring to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) militia in Syria.