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Here’s why Finland, Sweden’s Nato bids won’t progress

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Konstantin palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Konstantin palace outside St Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town – Despite Finland and Sweden having officially handed in application letters to join Nato, their bids won't move forward unless Turkey's concerns are addressed.

Talks with Turkey are continuing, a presidential spokesperson in Ankara said. Xinhua news agency reported that Ibrahim Kalin, a participant in the talks with the two Nordic nations, said their bid to join the military alliance won't move forward without concrete steps taken to address Ankara's concerns.

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“Our expectations were about taking concrete steps to address the presence of terrorist organisations … We’ve conveyed the information and documents on this matter,” Kalin said after the meeting.

Kalin added that Finnish and Swedish officials would submit their comments to their respective governments while Turkey continued its consultations.

Turkey objected to their bids and accused the two European countries of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which is a listed terrorist organisation by Turkey.

Turkey also accused the them of harbouring members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara claims is responsible for the failed 2016 military coup attempt.

Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said she looked forward to strengthening the Swedish-Turkish bilateral relations “including on peace, security and the fight against terrorism”.

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