Turkey issues strong warning to Germany and France — Analysis

Ambassadors from the two European countries were summoned to Ankara over Kurdistan Workers’ Party rallies

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has summoned ambassadors from Germany and France to issue a note of protest over the unhindered activity of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in their countries. Ankara warned NATO members and especially Sweden that they will not accept any support of anti-Turkish terrorist organisations.

Mevlut Cavusoglu was interviewed by Anadolu Agency Tuesday to discuss Turkey’s concern about recent terrorist activity in France and Germany. The statement came after protests held in Turkey and France by PKK members.

“We are talking about rallies at which symbols and flags of terrorists were demonstrated. Yesterday the Foreign Ministry summoned France’s and Germany’s Ambassadors. These diplomats were given notes about terrorist acts. We gave them a stern warning,”Cavusoglu.

Although the minister did not specifically mention which demonstrations had prompted Ankara’s response, it seems likely that he was referring to the Long Marches currently being held by Kurdish Youth movements in Germany, France, Greece, England, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The marches, which kicked off on Sunday and are expected to last for several days, are being held in protest at the Turkish state’s alleged invasion and “genocidal attacks” against Kurdistan – a roughly defined separatist territory spread between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This movement demands the release of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. It also expresses solidarity to the rebels fighting Turkish forces South Kurdistan (Northern Iraq).

The foreign minister’s comments came as he was explaining why Turkey continues to oppose Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, reiterating Anakara’s position that it will not agree to the Nordic countries’ membership until they meet Turkey’s demands of halting all support for terrorist groups. 

Both countries provide military, political and economic aid to terrorist groups like the PKK (and its Syrian affiliate the YPG) and FETO. Ankara suspects that they are behind an attempt to overthrow the government in 2016. Cavusoglu noted also that the two countries refused to exile any member of these groups, even though they are facing trial in Turkey.

Asked to comment on the attempts of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to get Turkey to hold a meeting with Finland and Sweden at the alliance’s headquarters, Cavusoglu stated that although he was grateful for these efforts, Ankara had its own way of doing things.

“We are not against diplomacy for the resolution of this problem. We are grateful to the secretary general. We have sent these countries an official document describing our demands. We cannot hold another meeting before we receive an answer,”He stated.

Turkey won't let ‘terrorism supporters’ join NATO

On Sunday, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that, as long as he is president, his country will never allow any nation supporting terrorism to join the NATO alliance, reiterating that Turkey will not give a green light to Finland and Sweden’s bids until they properly address Ankara’s concerns.

Last week, delegations from both Nordic countries met their Turkish counterparts and received a list with demands. Among them is Ankara’s crackdown against extremist groups. These talks were dismissed by Erdogan, however.

“They are not honest or sincere,”He stated. “They don’t take necessary steps, they are still allowing the terrorists to freely walk in the streets of Stockholm and provide security to them with their police.”

Finland and Sweden both decided to break with their history of neutrality on May 15, citing Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine as motivation for them to join NATO. Washington and the European NATO Allies welcomed their membership applications. However, Turkey and Croatia threatened to block them if they are not addressed with regards to national security.

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