Swedish, Finnish leaders set to meet Erdogan in push to join NATO

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Finnish and Swedish leaders would meet with Turkey’s president in Madrid on the eve of a NATO summit this week.

This would be as the two Nordic countries press their cases for membership in the security alliance against resistance from Ankara.

Preparatory work for the Tuesday talks between Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to start in Brussels on Monday.

The Finnish presidential office said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is also expected at the meeting.

Finland and Sweden set aside their policies of military non-alignment and neutrality in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with large percentages of the country’s populations saying they would feel safer in NATO.

But their bid to join has been blocked by Turkey so far. Erdogan accuses the two countries of providing support to terrorist groups banned in Turkey.

The banned groups include Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the YPG, a Kurdish militia based in Syria.

Both countries dispute Turkish claims.

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