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Erdogan discusses NATO concerns with Finland and Sweden

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021.  (photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo)

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo)

Turkey says Sweden and Finland harbor people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has objected to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, held phone calls with the leaders of the two countries on Saturday and discussed his concerns about terrorist organizations.

Turkey says Sweden and Finland harbor people linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

Erdogan told Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that Ankara expected concrete steps to address its concerns, the Turkish presidency said. He also said an arms exports embargo imposed on Turkey after its Syria incursion in 2019 should be lifted, it added.

In another call, Erdogan told Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that failing to deal with terrorist organizations that posed a threat to a NATO ally would not suit the spirit of alliance, Ankara said.

Niinisto said he held "open and direct" talks with Erdogan and agreed to continue close dialog. Read full story

Turkey surprised NATO allies last week by objecting to the two countries' accession to NATO, but Western leaders have expressed confidence that Ankara's objections will not be a roadblock for the membership process.

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