Despite efforts by the defense alliance to reach an agreement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again criticized the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. One cannot agree to the accession of countries that have imposed sanctions on Turkey, Erdogan said in Ankara on Monday. He again accused both countries of supporting “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had already criticized at the weekend that there were export restrictions on armaments because of Turkey’s fight against these groups and called for them to be lifted. Sweden has not delivered any weapons to Turkey since 2019 because of Ankara’s military operation in neighboring Syria.

Erdogan further said with regard to the visit of a Finnish and Swedish delegation to Turkey, they should not even bother. “Will they come to convince us? If so, no offense, they shouldn’t bother,” he said.

The Turkish President had already caused unrest in the alliance last week with negative statements about the possible NATO accession of Finland and Sweden. Many other NATO countries, including Germany, have declared their explicit support for Sweden and Finland’s accession plans. The alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said after a foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin on Sunday that Turkey had no intention of “blocking” the admission of Sweden and Finland.

A unanimous vote by NATO and the ratification of the alliance expansion by the parliaments of the 30 existing member states are required for Finland and Sweden to join.