Turkey’s Erdogan discusses NATO with Swedish and Finnish leaders


ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with leaders of the Nordic countries against Sweden and Finland joining NATO on Saturday, Erdogan’s office said.

He addressed Finnish President Sauli Ninisto’s private phone calls with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to address Ankara’s concerns about Ankara being considered a terrorist in the country, the presidential press office said.

Erdogan said he had asked Sweden to lift the export restrictions imposed on Turkey in response to Turkey’s 2019 invasion of northern Syria. Erdogan also said he expects Stockholm to take “concrete and serious measures” against the Kurdish Labor Party (PKK) and other groups considered terrorists by Turkey.

In an interview with Niinisto, he added: “An interest in disregarding terrorist organizations that poses a threat to our allies within NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance.”

In another call, the Turkish president raised Turkey’s concerns to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he would listen to Turkey’s concerns on the matter.

On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson visited Washington to talk with US President Joe Biden about a proposal to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While other NATO countries appear to welcome Finland and Sweden’s accession, Turkey has opposed the membership, primarily citing its blocking of arms sales with countries suspected of terrorism.

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