Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday May 21 called on Sweden to "put an end to its political and financial support and to the supply of arms to terrorist organizations", maintaining its opposition to its entry into NATO.

The Turkish head of state has had his first telephone conversations with his Swedish counterparts, Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson and Finnish, President Sauli Ninistö as well as with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, since the start of the crisis open between Ankara and these two countries regarding their accession to the Atlantic Alliance.

In a statement released just after the call with Magdalena Anderson, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he "expects Sweden to take concrete and serious measures, showing that it shares Turkey's concerns about the organization terrorist of the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers' Party) and its extensions in Syria and Iraq".

It also asks Stockholm to "lift its restrictions" on arms exports to Ankara since October 2019, following military operations led by Turkey in northern Syria and Iraq against PKK positions and of its Kurdish allies in the YPG, supported by the United States against the Islamic State organization.

>> To read: can Turkey block the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO?

"The sustained dialogue continues"

At the end of this first meeting, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also exchanged with his Finnish counterpart, in an apparently more conciliatory mode.

According to the presidency, he asserted "Turkey's natural right to expect respect and support in its legitimate fight against threats to its security and its population".

On Twitter, President Niinitö referred to an "open and direct telephone exchange with President Erdogan".

“I underlined that as NATO allies, Finland and Turkey would be committed to each other for their security and that their relations would be strengthened,” Sauli Niinitö said.

"Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms. The sustained dialogue continues," he insisted.

Turkey has opened a crisis within NATO – of which it is a member – by opposing the extension of the organization to the two Nordic countries: it accuses them of harboring and supporting members of the PKK, classified as terrorist organization by Ankara but also by Washington and the European Union.

Stockholm and Helsinki officially submitted their application to join the Atlantic Alliance on Monday following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ankara has been careful to maintain relations with kyiv and Moscow since the start of the war.

With AFP

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