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Erdogan urges NATO allies to ‘respect’ concerns over Finland, Sweden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, urged the alliance’s members on Wednesday to “respect” Ankara’s concerns about the two countries, which Turkey accuses of harbouring terrorists. “Our only expectation from NATO allies is… to first understand our sensitivity, respect and finally support it,” Erdogan told his party’s lawmakers in parliament. Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted a joint application to join NATO as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces a dramatic reappraisal of security in Europe. Erdogan accused Stockholm of providing safe haven to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) designated as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies. “We asked them to extradite 30 terrorists but they refused to do so,” he said. “You will not send back the terrorists to us and then ask our support for your NATO membership … We cannot say ‘yes’ to make this security organisation being lacking in security,” he added. Sweden has also imposed embargoes on arms sales to Turkey since 2019 over Ankara’s invasion of Syria. “We are sensitive about protecting our borders against attacks from terror organisations,” said Erdogan, calling on NATO allies to support Turkey’s “legitimate” Syria operations or at least not to stand in their way. The Turkish leader also said he was not warm to Swedish or Finnish delegations’ request to visit Ankara for consultations. “They want to come on Monday. They shouldn’t bother. There’s no need,” he said.

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