Turkish nationalist chief opposes NATO bids

AP , Tuesday 17 May 2022

The leader of a Turkish nationalist party that is allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expressing concern that NATO's expansion to include Sweden and Finland will provoke Russia and cause an expansion of the war in Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony for his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, May 16, 2022. AP


Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, on Tuesday told his party's lawmakers that the most ``logical'' option would be for the two countries to be kept in ``NATO's waiting room.''

Bahceli says that "Sweden and Finland's entry into NATO will mean the lengthening of the war in Ukraine and even its geographical expansion.''

Bahceli's speech comes a day after Erdogan said Sweden and Finland should not be allowed in. Erdogan has cited the two countries' perceived support for groups Turkey considers to be terrorists, refusal to extradite ``terrorists'' wanted by Turkey and arms export restrictions on Turkey.

Bahceli in his speech also accused the two countries of "aiding and abetting'' Kurdish militants.

All 30 current NATO countries must agree to open the door to new members.

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