Ankara cannot “put aside” sanctions imposed on Turkey by Stockholm when discussing Sweden’s bid to join NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
“Turkey’s vital role in NATO and other international organizations is clear. Yet we are still discussing the lifting of sanctions imposed on us by some of our allies, particularly Sweden,” the Turkish leader said during a trial of his country’s new attack submarine.
“We want to see concrete steps rather than open-ended diplomatic statements about our national security,” he added, apparently referring to statements by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has acknowledged on many occasions that the security concerns of every member have to be addressed.
Turkey has said it will not consent to requests from Finland and Sweden to join the US-led military bloc. The two Nordic nations formally applied for membership last week. Ankara cited the countries’ record of hosting, what is described as, “terrorists” and their restrictions on trade with Turkey as stumbling blocks. NATO rules require the unanimous support of current members for the enlargement of the organization.