President Recep Tayyip Erdoan told reporters on his way back from Azerbaijan on Sunday that Turkey cannot accept NATO bids from countries that sponsor terrorism.
“As long as Tayyip Erdoğan is at the head of the Republic of Turkey, we cannot say yes to countries that support terrorism to join NATO,” Erdoan remarked.
Last week’s talks with the Swedish and Finnish delegations about the two Nordic countries’ requests to join the military alliance “did not go as planned,” according to Erdoan.
“They have expectations, but they did not take the steps they should have regarding Turkey,” the president added, “and they, especially Sweden, still let terrorists roam their streets, securing (the terrorists) with their own police. On the day of our meeting, they even allowed the terrorist named Salih Muslim on the Swedish state television .”
Erdoan had expressed Turkey’s opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO in response to Russian action in Ukraine and had made a number of requests, including the extradition of 30 people Turkey considers terrorists.
Turkey also wants that the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish organization that was the major boots on the ground throughout the international war against ISIS, to be designated as a terrorist organization in order for the NATO bids to be approved. Turkey considers the YPG to be a Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Sweden recognized as a terrorist organization in 1984, almost two decades before the European Union.
Salih Muslim is the former head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which de facto governs Kurdish-populated territories in northern and eastern Syria. During much of the anti-ISIS campaign, the PYD was commanded by Muslims. He is currently the Movement for a Democratic Society’s foreign relations official (TEV-DEM).
According to Erdoan, they cannot make the same mistakes as in the past when it comes to countries that embrace and raise terrorists on their laps within NATO, a security organization. ” What was the mistake?”
“Unfortunately, the United States and other countries in the international coalition against ISIS have contributed major weaponry, equipment, and ammunition aid to these terrorist organizations,” Erdoan stated.
According to the president, Washington “even provides training for the PKK.” The PKK is on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, but the YPG is considered a different entity by Washington.
Erdoan reiterated his recent remarks about a possible military assault against Syrian Kurdish forces, saying:
“I always say, we may pounce on them suddenly one night. We have to. Will we not make them pay for our martyrs? We finished off some 30 terrorists in two days. With those in Northern Iraq, we neutralised more than 100 terrorists. This will continue. We cannot let it go. We will end terrorism and terrorists.”
The president also addressed Turkey’s ties with Greece, stating that his government has pushed Athens to “get its act together.” According to Erdoan,
“They did not get themselves in order, so we ended the High-Level Strategic Council meetings. From now on, I will not regard (Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis). I only regard those who conduct politics with character. … There is only one thing to do, we will be a friend to those who are friendly to us, but they should know that we will do what is necessary for those who regard us as enemies.”