Erdogan: I do not see positive Swedish-Finnish accession to NATO – We badly accepted the return of Greece in 1980
LAST UPDATE: 17.34
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country did not view Finland and Sweden’s prospects for NATO membership, noting that it was a mistake for Turkey to allow Greece to return to the military in 1980.
Erdogan claimed that Greece is trying to use NATO against Turkey, in relation to the differences between the two countries over maritime zones, as reported by the Associated Press.
Greece had joined NATO along with Turkey in 1952, but withdrew from the Alliance’s military wing in 1974, protesting the Turkish invasion and occupation of part of Cyprus.
The Nordic countries have become a safe haven for terrorists, stressed the Islamist-conservative head of the Turkish state. “They are even members of parliament in some countries,” he said.
“Sweden has become the seat of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s illegal in Turkey) and other terrorist groups. We do not view their accession to NATO with a positive eye,” Erdogan added.
The accession of new countries to the North Atlantic Alliance requires the consent of the parliaments of all 30 member states, which means that a Turkish opposition could delay the full integration of the two northern European countries into NATO. Turkey could even veto the accession of a new member.
The two countries have already received security guarantees from the US and the UK, in case they are attacked in the period between their application for membership in the Alliance and full membership.
A senior Turkish official told Bloomberg that Turkey was seeking Finland and Sweden to take a clear stand against Kurdish militants operating in southeastern Turkey and that Ankara would consult with them on their membership application.
According to European diplomatic sources, the accession process of Finland and Sweden, if they submit their expected formal application for NATO membership early next week, will be done with concise and fast procedures.
According to sources in AMPE, the two Nordic countries are expected to apply for membership on May 17 and if that happens, the signing of the Accession Protocol will take place by the end of the month at the latest. This means that Finland and Sweden will have the status of observer country and will be able to sit at the table of the NATO Summit on 28-30 June in Madrid, as well as at all subsequent meetings of the North Atlantic Alliance.
After the first signing of the Accession Protocol, it will be ratified by the parliaments of the 30 NATO member states – a process that usually takes six to eighteen months, but in the case of Finland and Sweden it is expected to be completed by the end of the year. During this period, Sweden and Finland will not yet be full members of NATO and will therefore typically not have the security guarantees provided for in Article 5 of the Treaty. However, the two countries have received serious security assurances from powerful NATO countries, such as Britain and the United States.
Next weekend, the Foreign Ministers of Finland and Sweden are invited to the informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin, where the above accession process will be confirmed. As European diplomatic sources in the AMPE noted, the speed with which the accession process of the two countries is promoted is unprecedented for NATO data.