Putin’s allies: Turkey President Erdogan blasts NATO’s Finland expansion – ‘not positive’

NATO ‘never made a country secure’ says Chizhov

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Finland and Sweden’s Prime Ministers are expecting results from crunch votes in a matter of days, with officials deciding how to take their NATO applications forward. Vladimir Putin has pushed the two countries towards the west following his invasion of Ukraine, dramatically shifting attitudes toward the military alliance. But while NATO has pledged to welcome both nations with open arms, not every one of its members has proven amiable to the potential arrangement, putting it in jeopardy.

Mr Erdogan came out swinging against the dual applications while speaking to reporters in Turkey today.

He claimed Finland hosted supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).

The party’s members have mounted an insurgency on Turkish soil in pursuit of Kurdish autonomy since 1984.

Aaron Stein, research director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said Turkish “security elites” see Finland and Sweden as “semi-hostile” due to local PKK presence.

Mr Erdogan claimed Scandinavian countries were “like some kind of guest house for terrorist organisations”.

They were “even in parliament”, he told reporters as he concluded his administration did not look favourably at their entry to NATO.

The President said: “At this point, it’s not possible for us to look positively at this.”

Official Turkish objection would spell doom for Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession bids.

They have firm backing from most other members, most notably the US, but need unanimous approval to enter.

Without Turkey – which has belonged to the organisation since 1959 – there is no way forward for either, something of which Swedish and Finnish representatives are acutely aware.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said he last spoke with Me Erdogan in a “positive” call on April 4, and diplomats have trailed over Europe to curry favour elsewhere.

But President Erdogan is not the only European leader and NATO member threatening to block the Nordic countries.

In April, Croatian President Zoran Milanović objected to news of their intended NATO bids.

He told reporters on April 27 that Croatia’s parliament must not “ratify anyone’s accession to NATO” until it changes election laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr Milanović said if he represented Croatia at the forthcoming Madrid NATO summit in June, he would reject Sweden and Finland.

He appeared amicable to the countries joining when “the issue of the election law in BiH is solved”.

Allowing their accession beforehand would be “dangerous charlatanry”, he added.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković challenged his colleague, stating he could block their entry but would have to do so in front of US President Joe Biden if he was a “tough guy”.

The President is not guaranteed to attend the summit and may have to try and convince Croatia’s NATO ambassadors to follow his lead.

But they won’t necessarily choose to, in which case Mr Milanović has pledged to chase the “sinful souls” of parliament members voting against him.

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