Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Erdogan told journalists in Istanbul on Friday that he had no “positive opinion” about the two countries joining the military alliance. He justified his stance by saying that Scandinavian countries behaved “like a guest house for terrorist organizations”.

Among other things, Erdogan accuses Scandinavian countries of offering shelter to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey. The admission of new members must be approved unanimously by the NATO member states. Turkey would thus have the opportunity to block the admission of Sweden and Finland.

NATO member Turkey maintains good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. So far, the country has been ambivalent about the Ukraine war: the country supplied Ukraine with combat drones – but unlike its western allies, it has not imposed any sanctions on Russia. Turkey has also repeatedly offered to mediate in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has triggered efforts to join NATO in the two Scandinavian countries. The Finnish head of state spoke out in favor of an “immediate” application to the western defense alliance on Thursday. In neighboring Sweden, the decision to join NATO is to be announced on Sunday.

On Thursday, Russia warned against the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO. This would not “make the world and our continent any more stable and secure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.