The leader of a Turkish nationalist party that is allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expressing concern that NATO's expansion to include Sweden and Finland will provoke Russia and cause an expansion of the war in Ukraine.
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, on Tuesday told his party's lawmakers that the most "logical" option would be for the two countries to be kept in "NATO's waiting room."
Bahçeli says that "Sweden and Finland's entry into NATO will mean the lengthening of the war in Ukraine and even its geographical expansion."
Bahçeli's speech comes a day after Erdoğan said Sweden and Finland should not be allowed in. Erdoğan has cited the two countries' perceived support for groups Turkey considers to be terrorists, refusal to extradite "terrorists" wanted by Turkey and arms export restrictions on Turkey.
Bahçeli in his speech also accused the two countries of "aiding and abetting" terrorist militants.
All 30 current NATO countries must agree to open the door to new members.