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Turkiye would not greenlight NATO membership for countries imposing sanctions on it: President

04:55 17 May 2022 Author :  

Turkiye would not greenlight NATO membership for countries that impose sanctions on it, said the nation’s president on Monday.

"We would not say yes to those who impose sanctions on Turkiye joining NATO," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Ankara.

A NATO member for 70 years, Turkiye, like all its fellow members, must approve of any new countries joining the alliance.

Erdogan also criticized Finland and Sweden as lacking a clear stance against terrorist groups.

Finland, Sweden's NATO bid

For decades, Sweden and Finland took a neutral foreign policy posture in the region, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that started on Feb. 24 triggered a shift in their approach, with both the public and most politicians favoring joining the NATO alliance.

However, Sweden and Finland, which have stated their intention to seek NATO membership, have not responded positively to requests from Turkiye – a NATO member for over 70 years – for the extradition of over 30 terrorists.

Last Friday, saying that Turkiye does not look positively on Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bid, the president added that certain Scandinavian countries effectively act as “guesthouses” for terrorist groups.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed reservations over Finland and Sweden joining NATO, saying the Scandinavian countries support the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the terror group has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.

Defense industry cooperation

On ties between Turkiye and Algeria, Erdogan said during Tebboune’s visit the two countries signed agreements in various areas from mining to the environment, and education to culture.

"As two countries that play an important role in ensuring peace and stability on the African continent, we are determined to strengthen defense industry cooperation,” Erdogan said.

Saying that the they had comprehensive talks on bilateral ties, Erdogan added that the two countries’ economic and commercial ties grow stronger every day.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade volume between the two countries rose 35% to $4.2 billion, he said.

Tourism, agriculture, and security are other important areas that the two countries spoke about stronger cooperation on, added Erdogan.

'Investment volume will expand to $10B or more'

Tebboune said he and Erdogan had an opportunity to enhance the countries’ deep-rooted ties in many fields.

He stressed that he believes the investment volume with Turkiye will expand to $10 billion or more.

He also said that Algeria is "considering taking important steps (with Turkiye) especially in the civilian, military, and naval industries."

"We had a comprehensive and fruitful meeting with Mr. Erdogan," said Tebboune, expressing his pleasure to visit Ankara and meet with Erdogan.

He went on to say that the two leaders can bring the two brotherly countries to a much better place.

In addition to bilateral ties, Tebboune said that they also discussed regional developments, including Libya and Palestine.

Turkish-Algerian ties

Tebboune’s trip to Turkiye marks the first presidential visit in 17 years since the one in 2005 by the late Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In 2006 the two countries signed friendship and cooperation agreements to enhance ties.

Turkiye opened its embassy in Algeria in 1963, a year after the North African country declared its independence.

Early Monday, Erdogan welcomed Tebboune with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara.

Ahead of bilateral talks with Erdogan, Tebboune first visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkiye, and laid a wreath at Ataturk's gravesite.

Later, the two leaders also attended a signing ceremony for bilateral agreements, one-on-one talks, and meetings between delegations./aa

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