Erdogan tells Sweden, Finland to address security concerns

Erdogan tells Sweden, Finland to address security concerns

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a press conference after a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on May 9, 2022. ADEM ALTAN AFP ISTANBUL Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to leaders of Sweden and Finland on Saturday, urging the two NATO applicant states to address Turkey's security concerns.

Erdogan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in a phone talk that the Nordic country should end political, financial and weaponry support to terrorist organizations, the Turkish presidential office said in a statement.

Turkey expects Sweden to take concrete steps to address its concerns about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party and its extensions in Syria and Iraq, Erdogan said.

He also urged Sweden to lift the arms exports embargo on Turkey after the latter launched a cross-border military operation in Syria in 2019.

In a separate call with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Erdogan said that ignoring the terror threats a NATO ally faces is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance.

NATO expects Turkey not to hold up membership of Finland, Sweden.

Turkey expects to support its legitimate and determined struggle against a clear threat to its national security and people, Erdogan said.

He also told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg via phone that Turkey would not approach Sweden and Finland's NATO bids positively unless they stand for Turkey's fundamental issues, especially in the fight against terrorism.

Stoltenberg stated that Turkey's security concerns should be addressed.

Sweden and Finland submitted their NATO membership applications to Stoltenberg on Wednesday.