Turkish President claims Finland and Sweden are “almost like guesthouses for terrorists” around concerns over outlawed Kurdish PKK group.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the two Nordic nations should not bother sending delegations to convince Turkey, a key Nato member, of their bids.
He is angered by what he sees as their willingness to host Kurdish militants.
Without the support of all Nato members, Sweden and Finland cannot join the military alliance.
On Monday, Sweden said Europe was living in a dangerous new reality, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the move by Finland and Sweden to join the 30-member military alliance did not threaten Moscow directly – but stressed that any expansion of military infrastructure would trigger a response from the Kremlin.
At a news conference on Monday, Mr Erdogan said Turkey opposed the Finnish and the Swedish bids to join Nato, describing Sweden as a “hatchery” for terrorist organisations.
“Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisation. How can we trust them?” the Turkish president said.
Turkey accuses the two Nordic nations of harbouring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group it views as a terrorist organisation, and followers of Fethullah Gulen.
All member states must agree that a new country can join Nato, therefore Sweden and Finland require Turkey’s support in their bid to join the military alliance.
Turkey has valid grounds for opposing Sweden’s NATO membership, a Swedish journalist said in his column on Thursday.
PM Nilsson, foreign affairs editor at Swedish daily Dagens Industri, said that there are legitimate reasons for Turkiye to stand against Sweden’s application to join NATO.
He said the Social Democratic Party’s precondition for Magdalena Andersson’s election as premier was the “agreement” it made with independent MP Amineh Kakabaveh to help the YPG/PKK.
The agreement was “weird” and “unconstitutional,” he said.
“It was to deepen cooperation with the YPG/PKK in Syria. This agreement means that a single lawmaker dictates Sweden’s foreign policy through the YPG, which is defined by Turkey as the Syrian branch of the PKK,” according to Nilsson.
He further said this “untenable agreement” showed that there is no “misunderstanding” by Turkiye, as opposed to what Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said.
On the election of Andersson as Sweden’s prime minister, far-right Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson had said that the Social Democratic Party was negotiating with the PKK to form a government.
“We saw that the Social Democratic Party would establish a close relationship with the PYD, a branch of the PKK terror group, via Kakabaveh to form the government,” Akesson had said.
Sweden is also the home to many of the PJAK leadership, the PKK’s Iranian branch.
Siamend Moeini, PJAK leader, is known to reside in the Stockholm area (Nacka) for over a decade.
Amir Karimi, another of PJAK’s prominent leaders, who now resides in North-East Syria, has led the European wing of the party from Sweden for years.
The group’s TV channel Newroz TV, now Aryen TV, also has its main studio in the wider Stockholm area.
On February 13, 2016, PJAK leadership in Sweden was targeted in a shoot-out, that formed a potential threat to Swedish citizens.