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Turkey clarifies position on Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO bid — Analysis

Ankara is “not closing door” to the countries, but concerns about “terrorism” must be addressed, Turkish presidential aide said

Turkey is not seeking to outright shoot down the accession of Sweden and Finland to the US-led NATO alliance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top adviser Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Saturday. Nonetheless, Ankara’s concerns about organizations it deems to be “terrorist”The official stated that it was necessary to address the problems in these countries.

“We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey,”Kalin made the clarification.

Erdogan said Ankara couldn’t support the Finnish and Swedish bids, but Erdogan reiterated his position on Friday. “like guesthouses for terrorist organizations.”A potential NATO member country must support a candidate member to be admitted into the alliance.

Kalin said that Ankara is especially concerned about Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK), which has been recognized in Turkey and in the EU as terrorist organizations. According to the official, this issue is mainly related to Sweden.

“What needs to be done is clear: they have to stop allowing PKK outlets, activities, organizations, individuals and other types of presence to…exist in those countries,”Kalin stated. “Of course we want to have a discussion, a negotiation with [our] Swedish counterparts.”

NATO membership is always an ongoing process. We will watch how it goes. This is however the first thing we would like to draw the attention of our allies and the Swedish authorities.

The PKK has been an enemy of Turkish authorities for decades already, with the group waging low-intensity insurgency in Kurdish-populated areas of the country’s southeast. Ankara considers Kurdish-led militias from Syria and Iraq, as well as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF) as affiliates of the PKK. “terrorists”Likewise. Over the last few years, Turkey has made numerous incursions in neighboring countries to combat Kurdish militants.

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