Delivering remarks to reporters prior to his visit to Spain for NATO Summit, President Erdoğan said: “If Sweden and Finland are to become NATO members, they have to respect the security concerns of Türkiye, which has been a member of the Alliance for 70 years. The opposite is unthinkable.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered remarks to reporters at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara prior to his visit to Spain for the NATO Heads of State and Government Summit.
QUARTET SUMMIT ON NATO MEMBERSHIP OF FINLAND, SWEDEN
Stating that Sweden and Finland’s application for NATO membership would be one of the main items on the agenda of the Summit, President Erdoğan reiterated Türkiye’s expectation for the prevention of the activities of PKK, PYD/YPG and all their extensions, which threatened Türkiye’s vital interests, in those countries, and said: “I will once again lay bare this rightful stance of ours on the occasion of the Summit. This issue will be on the agenda of my bilateral talks as well. Once we arrive in Madrid today, we will hold a quartet summit with the participation of Finnish President, Swedish Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General. NATO membership comes with several responsibilities. If Sweden and Finland are to become NATO members, they have to respect the security concerns of Türkiye, which has been a member of the Alliance for 70 years. The opposite is unthinkable”
“WE ARE ONE OF THE TOP FIVE COUNTRIES THAT MAKE THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATO’S MISSIONS AND OPERATIONS”
Touching upon the war in Ukraine, President Erdoğan underscored that Türkiye continued to hold talks with both sides for the immediate termination of the war, and added: “As one of the top five countries that make the greatest contributions to NATO’s missions and operations, Türkiye has done more than its share. We provide significant strength and capability to the Alliance by making the best of the most advanced technologies on land, at sea and in air. Additionally, we assume critical roles in the prevention of terrorism beyond our southern borders, which are also the borders of NATO, and migration movements, from Syria in particular. We, together with our allies, will reaffirm in Madrid the importance we attach to the Alliance during a period in which threats are increasing and diversifying. I will hold bilateral talks with some of the heads of allied state and government on the sidelines of the Summit. We will discuss especially the bilateral issues on our agendas, our cooperation within NATO and global agenda during these meetings.”
Answering reporters’ questions following his remarks, President Erdoğan, in response to a question as to if he expected concrete steps to be taken in line with Türkiye’s demands following the Quartet Summit and if there could be a change in Türkiye’s attitude towards the membership of the two countries, underscored that Türkiye expected actions from now on rather than words.
Drawing attention to one of the terrorist ringleaders interview on Swedish state television, President Erdoğan said: “On the other hand, what do Swedish officials say? They say they do not consider them to be terrorists. Also they stage marches in Stockholm streets under the Swedish police’s control.”
Noting that these marches were not limited to Sweden, but they took place in Germany, the Netherlands and Greece as well, President Erdoğan also drew attention to the nine U.S. bases built in Greece, and added that he would raise all these issues during his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden tonight or the following day.
“WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE TÜRKİYE’S STANCE”
In answer to a question about his possible meeting with US President Joe Biden on the margins of the summit, President Erdoğan described the F16 issue as the most important agenda item and said: “The F16 issue is still on the table. There is a stalling tactic going on yet again.”
Recalling his meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece in Istanbul in March, President Erdoğan stated that they had agreed back then to hold all the future talks in a bilateral manner without letting anyone else come between them, and continued as follows: “However, two or three weeks later he went to the US. Whom did he attack in his address to the Senate? Türkiye, yet again. Topics like the F16 issue were brought up. We now know quite well who they are, what they are. Where was the most important shelter of the FETO, which staged the July 15 coup attempt against us? It was Greece. Which place did those who fled Türkiye via various routes including Edirne prefer? They preferred Greece. I talked to the prime minister of that era. Even though he said that they would make the necessary intervention immediately, they nursed these terrorists with care and then saw them off to various European countries. We no longer buy these. We expect a principled stance towards Türkiye. Our attitude towards those who don’t display a principled stance is clear. We will not compromise Türkiye’s stance and will continue our march in the same manner.”
Asked “What will your answer be if there is a demand from the Greek side for a meeting on the margins of the summit? Are you planning to carry the Ankara-Athens tension to the summit agenda?” President Erdoğan replied: “I have already explained that it is out of the question for me to have a bilateral meeting with Mr. Mitsotakis. You are apparently not following me well. We were supposed to hold a high-level strategic council meeting with Greece this year. What did I say? We abolished it. It is no longer possible to have a meeting like the high-level strategic council meeting with Greece. It is over. How can a leader that abolished this say yes to such a demand by Mitsotakis! No, that is over. We have closed that door. They will get their act together from now on. After they get their act together, we draw a roadmap as to whether any such meeting is held or at what level such talks occur.”
In response to a question about what his messages would be during the Summit’s terrorism session about the Alliance’s southern flank, President Erdoğan stated: “What is the most important power here? Türkiye. Can NATO afford to lose a power like Türkiye? 70 years; it is nothing easy. Türkiye ranks among the top 5 in NATO in all respects. Türkiye has so far used its strength for NATO consistently without any concession. We are determined to continue this unwavering march of ours in the same manner from now on as well.”
Asking what NATO did while truckloads of weapons and ammunition were being delivered by some NATO members to terrorists particularly along Türkiye’s southern borders, President Erdoğan said: “The US is the number 1 country of NATO. Truckloads of weapons came from the US. This morning we had a talk with him but I will reiterate these to him during our meeting this evening or tomorrow.”
“How come all these weapons are dispatched to the PKK/YPG while we are two partner countries within NATO that stand shoulder to shoulder!” stressed the President. “Against whom are these weapons used? ‘The ones in Greece are used against Russia,’ you said. How about the weapons that come to the lairs of terrorist organizations in our south? Against whom are they employed? They, too, are employed against Türkiye. As I said earlier, our NATO partner France, its Lafarge. Caves and underground homes were built with the investments of its cement maker. Has there been even the slightest intervention even though we have told these repeatedly? No, there hasn’t. One of their leading resources. They haven’t. We now know them very well. We will be trying to bring these up one by one.”