Erdogan Reiterated His Disagreement with Sweden’s and Finland’s Accession to NATO

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Turkish President says these countries should prevent Kurdistan Workers’ Party activities He pointed to the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK – Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê), explaining Ankara’s objections to Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO. According to him, both countries’ accession to the alliance entails risks for Turkey’s security. The PKK has been waging an insurgency against Turkey for 38 years that has killed tens of thousands of people. It is recognized as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union, including Sweden and Finland. But Western attitudes toward the Syrian wing of the PKK, the People’s Self-Defense Units, have led to serious friction between Ankara and other NATO members. The units form the backbone of the forces involved in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State group. “Turkey believes that admitting Sweden and Finland carries risks for its own security and the future of the organization,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed out in an Economist article. Referring to the central principle of mutual defense of NATO members, he added: “We have every right to expect that these countries, which count on NATO’s second-largest army to come to their defense under Article 5, will prevent PKK recruitment, financing and propaganda activities.” He also said the arms embargoes were “incompatible with the spirit of military partnership”. Sweden and Finland, among other countries, imposed restrictions on military exports to Turkey after it invaded northeastern Syria in 2019 to push back the People’s Self-Defense Units. Голос Америки