Türkiye will not change its stance on Sweden's and Finland's NATO bids until they take clear, concrete, and decisive steps in their fight against terrorism, the Turkish president said on Wednesday.
Türkiye will not stand by Sweden (in its NATO bid) while terrorist organizations act freely on Swedish streets, and it will not leave the blood of the country's "martyrs" on the ground, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Their accession requires the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member countries.
In late May, Türkiye hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in the capital Ankara. Erdogan said the talks had not been "at the desired level."
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.