ISTANBUL – Turkey’s president highlighted the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party as part of his country’s objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying both nations would pose security risks for Turkey.
The group known as PKK has waged a 38-year insurgency against Turkey that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. It is classified as a terrorist entity by the United States and the European Union, including Sweden and Finland.
However, the West’s attitude towards the Syrian wing of the PKK, the People’s Defense Units or YPG, has sparked disputes between Ankara and other NATO members. The YPG forms the backbone of the forces involved in the US-led fight against the Islamic State group.
“Turkey claims that admitting Sweden and Finland poses risks to its own security and the future of the organization,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote late Monday in an article published by The Economist.
Referring to the central tenet of NATO’s mutual defense policy, he added: “We have every right to expect that those countries expecting the second largest NATO army to come to their defense under Article 5 will and prevent propaganda activities by the PKK.”
All NATO members must agree to the two Nordic nations’ bids for membership, fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Turkey has said it will not allow its accession unless steps are taken, but NATO leaders look forward to it NATO summit in Spain at the end of June as an opportunity for historic expansion.
Erdogan again called on Finland and Sweden to extradite terrorist suspects from Ankara and to support “the anti-terrorist operations of NATO members”.
He also said arms embargoes are “incompatible with the spirit of military partnership.”
Sweden and Finland were among countries that imposed arms export restrictions on Turkey after its 2019 invasion of northeastern Syria aimed at pushing back the YPG. Erdogan has promised another cross-border operation against the group in recent days.
The president detailed Turkey’s role in “arguably the largest military alliance in history” since it joined in 1952, and urged other NATO members to persuade Sweden and Finland to change their positions.
“Where Sweden and Finland stand on the national security concerns and considerations of other countries with which they wish to be allies will determine the extent to which Turkey wants to be allies with those states,” he added.
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https://www.local10.com/business/2022/05/31/turkish-leader-writes-on-risks-of-sweden-finland-in-nato/ The Turkish leader writes about the “risks” of Sweden and Finland in NATO