Turkey has always supported NATO’s open door policy and the solidarity of member states, but Turkey continues to have reservations about Sweden’s relationship with Kurdish militants, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in a phone call.
He added that Turkey “expects Sweden to take concrete and serious steps to show that it shares Turkey’s concerns,” according to a reading of the appeal from the Turkish president’s office.
Erdoğan demanded that Sweden end further support for Kurdish militant groups, after the Turkish government claimed to have found Swedish-made weapons in the hands of Kurdish groups in northern Syria. Turkey has also expressed concern about what it claims are activities in support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) taking place in Sweden.
The Turkish leader also told Sweden it must lift restrictions on arms exports to Turkey imposed in 2019 following a Turkish offensive in Syria.
Turkey blocked an initial vote on formal NATO membership for Sweden and Finland earlier this week, and Turkish officials have urged fellow NATO members to listen to their demands before the process begins. membership can begin. Erdoğan spoke with Boris Johnson on Friday evening and with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Saturday afternoon.
Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu said Erdoğan told Niinistö that ignoring parties threatening a NATO ally, in reference to Kurdish militant groups on Turkey’s borders, was not compatible with the spirit of the covenant.
Turkish authorities launched a major offensive against Kurdish groups in the southeast of the country in 2015 and have since carried out multiple incursions into northern Syria and struck northern Iraq in an attempt to fight groups that they see as terrorists.