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Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said he had a bone to pick with not only Sweden and Finland as they look to join NATO, but said President Joe Biden can expect an earful as world leaders meet in Madrid this week.
In a readout from a call the two world leaders had before boarding separate planes for Spain, the White House said Biden was “looking forward” to meeting with Erdogan this week.
Though the summit is set to focus on the changing security reality posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s overt aggression in the Pacific, Turkey’s outspoken leader is expected to take center stage.
Erdogan has prevented Helsinki and Stockholm’s immediate admittance into NATO over claims they have housed individuals sympathetic with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who Ankara has deemed terrorists.
“We will hold these four-way talks together and see what point they have reached,” Erdogan told reporters at the airport, reported Turkish news outlets. “We do not want dry words, we want results. We are sick of passing the ball around in the mid-field. As of now, they are producing words.”
The PKK has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union. However, western support for groups affiliated with the PKK fighting ISIS in Syria under the People’s Protection Forces (YPG) has prompted further ire amongst Turkish leaders.
It is unclear how negotiations with NATO, Sweden, Finland and Turkey have progressed, but additional long-standing spats between Turkey and other regional NATO allies have crept their way into the ongoing negotiations.
Turkey in recent weeks has claimed that U.S. bases in Greece pose a threat to Turkish security and have accused the U.S. of using a decades-old beef between Athens and Ankara to bolster its own agenda.
“When we ask about them, you say, ‘They are against Russia.’ What actions have you shown against Russia from there? Well, how about these weapons [delivered to the YPG]? Against whom are they being used?” Erdogan questioned Tuesday.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden and Erdogan will likely have time to meet for a one-on-one meeting Wednesday, though nothing official is yet on the books.