Wed, 06 Jul 2022

ANKARA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Thursday held a phone talk to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, prospects of NATO's expansion, and the bilateral ties.

Erdogan told Macron that Turkey wants "a just peace" between Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible and continues to encourage the two sides to hold dialogue and diplomacy, Turkey's presidency said in a statement.

On Finland's and Sweden's bids to join the NATO, Erdogan said that the "contacts" of these countries with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) affiliated persons and institutions are not in line with the spirit of the alliance, said the statement.

Sweden and Finland sent delegations to Ankara for talks on Wednesday in an effort to resolve their differences with Turkey, which threatens to block their NATO bids.

Turkey presented its demands to the delegations for the two Nordic countries to take concrete steps to deal with Turkey's security concerns, said Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin after the talks.

The two countries have formally submitted their NATO membership applications, which need the approval of all current NATO members.

Turkey is the only member of the alliance that objects to their bids, citing their support for the PKK and its Syrian branch, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), and harboring members of the Gulen Movement accused by Ankara of being behind the failed military coup in 2016.

Ankara also demands Sweden and Finland lift their restrictions on arms exports imposed since Turkey launched military operations in Syria in 2019.

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