Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there is a clear difference between Finland and Sweden in their approach to terrorism. As a condition of ratifying the two Nordic countries' bid to join Nato, Turkey has demanded that they hand over Kurdish activists suspected of terrorism.
Erdoğan made the comments during an interview with the US-based PBS News Hour on Monday.
News anchor Judy Woodruff asked Erdoğan how soon the issue about Finland's and Sweden's accession to the military alliance will be resolved, as well as asking whether Turkey plans to prevent the countries from joining Nato if a deal cannot be reached.
"Here especially, Sweden has been a cradle for terrorism. And the terrorists have infiltrated all the way into their parliaments," Erdoğan said through a translator.
"And, in Stockholm, we see terrorists are demonstrating all the time. The banners, the poster of the leader of the terrorist organizations are abound. They are demonstrating. They're throwing slogans. And they're attacking the innocent Turkish descendants in Stockholm," he said.
Finland "not like Sweden"
"Finland, on the other hand, they're not like Sweden. They're a bit more calm, and they have more control over the developments. But Sweden is not like that. They're always using certain reasons. They're always using certain excuses. They always talk about the Constitution. And, as the reigning principle of the Constitution, they value the freedom of expression," Erdoğan said, according to a News Hour transcript (siirryt toiseen palveluun).
So far, 27 out of Nato's 30 member states have ratified Finland's and Sweden's bid to join the alliance.