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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said he not only has problems with Sweden and Finland as they seek to join NATO, but said that President Joe Biden can expect to hear rumors as world leaders meet in Madrid this week.
Judging by the call from two world leaders before boarding separate planes to Spain, The White House told Biden “looked forward” to meeting Erdogan this week.
While the summit will focus on the changing security reality brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s open aggression in the Pacific, Turkey’s outspoken leader is expected to take center stage.
Erdogan prevented the immediate admission of Helsinki and Stockholm to NATO because of claims that they host sympathizers of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whom Ankara considers terrorists.
“We will have these four-way talks together and see where they come from,” Erdogan told reporters at the airport, according to Turkish news outlets. “We don’t need dry words, we need results. We are tired of passing the ball in midfield. At the moment they are producing words.”
The PKK has been designated a terrorist group by the US and the European Union. However, Western support for groups associated with the PKK The fight against ISIS in Syria by the People’s Self-Defense Forces (YPG) has drawn further anger from Turkish leaders.
It is not clear how negotiations with NATO, Sweden, Finland and Turkey have progressed, but additional longstanding spats between Turkey and other regional NATO allies have intervened in ongoing negotiations.
Turkey has said in recent weeks that US bases in Greece pose a threat to Turkey’s security and accused the US of using longstanding disputes between Athens and Ankara to support its own agenda.
“When we ask about them, you say: “They are against Russia.” What actions against Russia did you show there? Well, what about these weapons [delivered to the YPG]? Who are they being used against?” Erdogan asked on Tuesday.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden and Erdogan would likely have time to meet one-on-one on Wednesday, though there is no official word yet.