Turkey slammed the brakes on a procedural move to fast-track Finland's and Sweden's applications to join NATO on Wednesday and presented a list of concerns to allies.

The nation requested time to work through its issues with the two Nordic countries and reiterated its concerns about their support for Kurdish groups and arms sales restrictions against Turkey.

“We are one of the countries that give the most support to the activities of the alliance, but this does not mean that we will unquestioningly say ‘yes’ to every proposal brought before us,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party, according to the Washington Post. “The expansion of NATO is meaningful for us, in proportion to the respect that is shown to our sensitivities.”


Erdogan signaled reluctance to accept Finland and Sweden into the military alliance last week after it became clear they intended to join. Many diplomats believe Turkey will eventually come around, according to the outlet.

Turkey has not publicly committed to blocking the two Nordic nations' accession to the alliance, but by blocking a procedural vote to move forward with their applications, Ankara is slowing the process. Erdogan ripped the two countries over a 2019 arms sales restriction in response to its offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. He also panned their support of Kurdish groups he considers "terrorist organizations."

Swedish officials have rejected these criticisms as false allegations, claiming it has a "strong anti-terrorist agenda." Representatives from both Sweden and Finland have sought to ease Turkey's concerns over their applications, but so far, the efforts appear to have been unsuccessful. Turkey wants the two nations to lift the arms restrictions, extradite 33 people Ankara has accused of fomenting a 2016 coup attempt, and stop supporting certain Kurdish groups.


Finland announced it would apply to join NATO last Thursday, and Sweden announced its intent Monday. Both Nordic nations submitted their applications to join NATO by Wednesday, according to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he "warmly" welcomed the request. The two nations had refrained from pursuing membership in the powerful military alliance, but Russia's bloody invasion of Ukraine has seemingly altered the calculus.

Ascension requires unanimous agreement among NATO members, which gives member state Turkey ample leverage. Turkey has been at odds with other members of NATO over Western support of Kurdish fighters in parts of the Middle East in recent years and has expressed regrets about permitting neighboring Greece into the alliance in the 1980s.