Swedish sanctions against Ankara must be rescinded, says the Turkish president
Ankara cannot “put aside” sanctions imposed on Turkey by Stockholm when discussing Sweden’s bid to join NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
“Turkey’s vital role in NATO and other international organizations is clear. Yet we are still discussing the lifting of sanctions imposed on us by some of our allies, particularly Sweden,” the Turkish leader said during a trial of his country’s new attack submarine.
“We want to see concrete steps rather than open-ended diplomatic statements about our national security,”He apparently was referring to statements made by NATO Secretary General Jens Steltenberg who had previously acknowledged that security concerns for all allied countries must be addressed.
Turkey stated that it won’t consent to the US-led NATO military bloc asking for its membership. Two Nordic countries submitted formal applications for membership last week. Ankara cited the countries’ record of hosting “terrorists”Their restrictions on trade relations with Turkey are also a problem. NATO rules call for unanimous support from all members to allow the organization’s expansion.
Turkey’s complaints refer to Sweden and Finland’s policy of giving political asylum to people who Ankara perceives as dangerous militants, primarily ethnic Kurds suspected of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a militia group that waged a decades-long guerilla war against the Turkish government.
A ban on arms trading with Turkey has been imposed by some European countries, including Sweden in 2019, in response to the military intervention in Syria.
Erdogan spoke at Golcuk Navy Shipyard Command, in northwestern Kocaeli. The docking ceremony was attended by Erdogan and the other high-ranking members of the Turkish military leadership.
The boat was officially launched in April and is currently being tested. Erdogan indicated that Turkey will have six domestically-built boats in the fleet by 2027.
The Turkish president emphasized how successive governments formed by his party had put much effort into reducing the country’s reliance on imports for arming itself. Erdogan stated that the policy led to a drop in foreign-dependent weapon systems from 80% down to 30%.
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