Unless Sweden and Finland “clearly show” that they will stand in solidarity with Turkiye on fundamental issues, especially the fight against terrorism, Ankara will not approach their NATO membership bid positively, the Turkish president told the alliance’s chief over phone on Saturday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed Jens Stoltenberg that Turkiye “sincerely supports” NATO’s open-door policy, but the issue regarding Sweden and Finland’s membership requests is “related to these countries’ attitude towards Turkiye’s vital and national security interests,” Turkiye’s Communications Directorate said in a statement.

Stoltenberg, in a tweet, said Turkiye’s security concerns on the matter should be addressed.

“Spoke with President@RTErdogan of our valued Ally #Turkey on the importance of #NATO’s Open Door and the membership applications by #Finland & #Sweden. We agree that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account and talks need to continue to find a solution,” he said.

The two Nordic countries formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday – a decision spurred by Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine.

However, Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

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