BY İBRAHIM ALTAY
Scandinavian countries have unfortunately turned into breeding centers for terrorism, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists on his return flight from Iran, the president spoke about the latest situation regarding a deal with Finland and Sweden on the Nordic countries’ bid to enter NATO and the fight against terrorism.
“We have openly and clearly stated our conditions to Finland and Sweden at the table during which the NATO secretary-general was also present,” Erdoğan said, reiterating that Turkey’s conditions include that these countries end the activities of the terrorist organizations on their soil while returning terrorist suspects to Turkey.
“As you know we facilitated the listing of the PKK/PYD/YPG and FETÖ in official records as terrorist organizations and said that they have to return them,” he added.
“They feed the terrorist organization even in their parliaments. Similar to a breeding center. If they do not uphold their promises, it is not possible for us to look positively at the issue (Nordic countries entering NATO).”
He continued by saying that almost all Scandinavian countries are currently quasi breeding centers for terrorism, including countries like Norway, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy.
“The West currently has no right to speak on the issue (of terrorism).”
At a NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June, Erdoğan called on Finland and Sweden to “do their part” in the fight against terrorism and accused them of providing a haven for outlawed PKK/YPG terrorists.
Earlier this month NATO kicked off the accession procedures for Sweden and Finland after a deal was struck with Turkey, which had blocked the Nordic nations from joining.
Spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the two countries applied to join NATO in May, shedding their traditional neutrality.
Turkey is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. With its unique position of having friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has won widespread praise for its push to end the war.
In a breakthrough, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for peace talks in Istanbul on March 29 as the war entered its second month with casualties piling up on both sides.
Turkey also hosted the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Antalya in March as well as a recent meeting in Istanbul to discuss the export of Ukrainian grain while Ankara also hopes to bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Mr. Putin’s view on our efforts is currently positive. He thanks us for our efforts. He had various proposals for us,” Erdoğan said on the issue of continuing coordination.
On the other side, speaking on the latest situation in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh, which was at the heart of a war between Baku and Yerevan that ended with Russian peace brokering, Erdoğan said that both Putin and himself speak regularly with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
He said Putin had told him that the process regarding Karabakh is going positively.
Erdoğan said that Aliyev similarly told him that progress is being made in Karabakh.
“Hopefully, the opening of the airport that will cover the region will be made soon,” he added.