‘Türkiye will not change stance on Sweden's, Finland's NATO bids until they take concrete steps’: Erdogan

Türkiye will not stand by Sweden while terrorist organizations maintain presence in country, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

‘Türkiye will not change stance on Sweden's, Finland's NATO bids until they take concrete steps’: Erdogan

Türkiye will not change its stance on Sweden's and Finland's NATO bids until they take clear, concrete, and decisive steps in their fight against terrorism, the Turkish president said on Wednesday.

Türkiye will not stand by Sweden (in its NATO bid) while terrorist organizations act freely on Swedish streets, and it will not leave the blood of the country's "martyrs" on the ground, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party.

“While the fallen of our country are tearing our hearts out on a daily basis, no one can expect concessions from us on this issue. Let me underline that Türkiye has no time to lose with expectations or ambivalent remarks regarding the issue,” he stated.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Their accession requires the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member countries.

In late May, Türkiye hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in the capital Ankara. Erdogan said the talks had not been "at the desired level."

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Türkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

The Turkish government accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Developments in Aegean

“We are aware of the scenario staged against our country through Greece that has been spoilt and unleashed onto us by some circles as has always been the case throughout history,” Erdogan said, referring to the recent tension between Ankara and Athens on the Aegean Sea.

“The problem is that Greece is not aware of this scenario or is acting as a volunteer in it," he added.

Criticizing the Greek acts, Erdogan said that if Greece acts so in the future, if it insists on doing the same mistake, it will just get tired and worn out.

"We will always be maintaining and consolidating our presence in our region and the world as a global political, economic, and military power," unlike Greece which can hardly proceed through such mentality, he also noted.

Türkiye in recent months has stepped up criticism of Greece stationing troops on islands in the eastern Aegean, near the Turkish coast and in many cases visible from shore.

These islands were required to be demilitarized under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris, so any troops or weapons on the islands are strictly forbidden.

Hüseyin Demir