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Erdoğan to speak to Finland, NATO allies to address Turkey’s concerns

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses reporters in Istanbul, Turkey, May 20, 2022. (AA)  Ns News Online Desk:
Ns News Online Desk: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday that he is engaged in “telephone diplomacy” with foreign counterparts over Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO.

He reiterated that Turkey is adamant that it will not approve the candidacy of countries accused by Ankara of supporting “terror organizations.”

Erdoğan has placed an obstacle to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance. He accuses Stockholm, and to a lesser extent Helsinki, of supporting the PKK and other groups that Ankara views as terrorists and a threat to national security.

Turkey, which has the second-largest army in NATO, also accuses the two Nordic countries of imposing restrictions on exports of defense industry equipment to Turkey and of failing to extradite suspects wanted by Turkish authorities.

Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul that he spoke to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday and would hold further discussions with British and Finnish leaders on Saturday.

“They (terrorists) are doing all kinds of marches in Finland, in Sweden, especially in Germany. When we say extradite these terrorists, they don’t,” he also said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join the military alliance this week. All 30 NATO members need to approve the entry of new members.

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