Erdogan Opposes Finland and Sweden to NATO

Erdogan Opposes Finland and Sweden to NATO

 Erdogan believes the two Scandinavian countries host "terrorists" who are blacklisted by the Ankara government. Erdogan expressed his opinion in Ankara, Friday (13/5/2022). He said both countries were protecting leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey is hostile to. The PKK is considered a separatist movement operating in southeastern Turkey. Turkey also banned the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP/C), Turkey's communist party.

 The statement came after Helsinki and Stockholm indicated their intention to join the US-led military alliance. “We are currently following developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not support them. At this point, it is impossible for us to have a positive approach," Erdogan said. “Unfortunately the Scandinavian countries are almost like lodgings for terrorist organizations. PKK and DHKP/C nest in Sweden and the Netherlands. I went further, in their parliament," he added. In April, concerned about Russia's military actions in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland began considering dropping their neutral status and joining NATO.

 Top Finnish officials have supported the initiative. Sweden will cut off its accession to the military bloc on May 15. Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated the US-led organization would be eager to include both countries and would make the admissions process speedy. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it views NATO's expansion as a threat to its national security. The Kremlin has also warned Sweden and Finland they would jeopardize their security, rather than enhance it, by joining the alliance. 

Russia attacked the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine's failure to implement the terms of the 2014 Minsk agreement, and Moscow's eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The Minsk Protocol brokered by Germany and France was designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral nation that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists Russia's attack is completely unwarranted and denies claims that it plans to retake the two republics by force. In Riga, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said his country approved of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. 

They noted their addition to the alliance would turn the Baltic Sea into a "NATO sea". Rinkevics told the Financial Times media. Together with his colleagues in Estonia and Lithuania, Rinkevics expressed his desire to ratify the membership applications of the two Nordic countries. The trio told the Times they would benefit from the militaries of Finland and Sweden, particularly the US-Finnish fighter jet fleet. Despite her unmitigated support for the entry of Russia's northern neighbor into NATO, Rinkevics hopes for more NATO troops in her country. The transformation of the Baltics into a NATO asset "does not change our demands for NATO enhancement in the Baltic region." 

The foreign minister added that there are still issues to be addressed, and the current security situation requires bolder action. NATO sent an additional 1,000 troops each to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from European member states earlier this year. But the three countries are demanding more, calling for additional brigades of 3,000 to 5,000 troops. They also demanded improved air defenses that would allow them to shoot down Russian aircraft in the event of an attack. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the Baltics said they were worried about the possibility of Russia invading their territory through the Suwalki pass. 

This is a relatively short (65 km) border region between Poland and Lithuania flanked between Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad Province.
The three countries reportedly increased their defense spending to 2.5 percent of GDP, compared to the NATO requirement of 2 percent. Russia warned that Finland wanted to join NATO, its intentions would pose an immediate threat. Finland shares an 833-mile (1,340-kilometer) land border with Russia and while Helsinki has acknowledged its neighbor poses no immediate threat. Membership in the bloc is a direct escalation, placing hostile alliances directly on Russia's borders.

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