(Berlin) Turkey is ready to discuss with Finland and Sweden their candidacy for NATO and the reasons for Ankara’s hostility to this enlargement, the head of diplomacy said on Saturday Turkish Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Posted at 12:18 p.m.
Updated at 2:12 p.m.
“The vast majority of the Turkish people are against the accession of these countries which support the terrorist organization PKK (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan) and they ask us to block this accession”, affirmed the minister before a NATO meeting in Berlin in which its Finnish and Swedish counterparts participate.
“But these are issues that we must of course discuss with our NATO allies as well as with the countries” concerned, he added.
Finland and Sweden can only be admitted after a unanimous vote by existing members of the Atlantic Alliance, which Turkey threatens to block.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan explained that he did not want to see “the same mistake made when Greece joined”, a neighbor with whom Turkey has historically had complicated relations.
He also accused the two Nordic countries of serving as a “hostel for PKK terrorists”, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, but also by the European Union and the United States.
For some analysts, Turkey could seek to take advantage of a tactical advantage in order to obtain a counterpart from the members of the Alliance.
Ankara wishes in particular to acquire American F-16 fighter planes as well as the spare parts necessary for the maintenance and modernization of the F-16s it already has.
The country originally ordered and paid $1.4 billion for an order of F-35 stealth fighter jets, which were never delivered.
The entire contract was frozen by the United States in 2019 after Turkey purchased the Russian S-400 anti-missile system, which was seen as a threat to the F-35.
Without making direct reference to this military equipment, Mr Cavusoglu regretted, in Berlin, that because of our fight against this terrorist organization (PKK, editor’s note) there were export restrictions on the products of the defense industry that we import from allies and countries that plan to be a member of NATO.”