There are terrorists in the Swedish parliament, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a press conference with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Ankara on Wednesday.
“As you know, currently Sweden is a country where all terrorist groups roam free. There are even terrorists in their own parliament,” Erdoğan said.
The Turkish president repeated his accusations that Sweden harbours Kurdish terrorists, and said Sweden’s public broadcaster was platforming “terrorist leaders”.
“We cannot tell them to continue doing that. We cannot welcome them into NATO. The same goes for Finland as well,” Erdoğan said. “NATO is a security organisation, not an organisation to enable terrorism.”
Erdoğan and other top Turkish officials have objected to the two Nordic countries’ appeal to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citing security concerns over their attitudes towards their Kurdish communities. To refrain from vetoing the applications, Ankara demands Helsinki and Stockholm crackdown on what it calls “terrorism” and take action against Syrian Kurdish groups in particular.
On 13 May, Erdoğan said Finland and Sweden had long been safe havens for terrorist groups, citing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is currently included in the European Union’s list of foreign terrorist organisations, and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYD), which is a legal political party that is not designated terrorist anywhere outside of Turkey.
Turkey already halted an initial vote on Sweden and Finland’s accession negotiations for NATO membership on 18 May, during an ambassadors’ meeting in Brussels.