Security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications are legitimate, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday during a visit to Finland.
“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto while visiting him at his summer residence in Naantali, Finland.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Sweden and Finland applied to join the Western defense alliance last month, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has accused them of supporting and harboring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists.
Stoltenberg said Turkey was a key ally for the alliance due to its strategic location on the Black Sea between Europe and the Middle East, and cited the support it has provided to Ukraine since Russia sent troops into its neighbor on February 24. Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation.”
“We have to remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkiye,” Stoltenberg said, using the Turkish pronunciation of the country’s name, as preferred by Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Stoltenberg and Niinisto said talks with Turkey would continue but gave no indication of progress in the negotiations.
“The summit in Madrid was never a deadline,” Stoltenberg said, referring to a NATO meeting in Madrid at the end of June.
Sweden, Finland to meet Turkey at NATO in new bid for progressNATO said Wednesday it will hold talks involving Turkey, Finland and Sweden in hopes of ending Ankara's opposition to the Nordic nations joining the ... World News
Turkey tells US it wants ‘concrete steps’ from Finland, Sweden for NATO bidsA chief adviser to Turkey's president told his US counterpart that Turkey wanted “concrete steps” on the existence of what it calls “terrorist ... World News
Macron urges Turkey to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choiceFrench President Emmanuel Macron asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to “respect the sovereign choice” of Finland and ... World News
Biden welcomes Finland, Sweden to join NATO, as Turkey balksUS President Joe Biden met the leaders of Sweden and Finland on Thursday to advance their applications to join the NATO military alliance, as Turkey ... World News
NATO chief sure Turkey’s spat over Sweden, Finland will be resolvedTurkey’s leader flatly opposes having Sweden and Finland join NATO but the military alliance’s top official said Thursday he was confident that the ... World News
Turkey’s Erdogan says ‘no’ to Sweden and Finland NATO bidTurkey will oppose Sweden and Finland joining NATO, the country’s president flatly stated in a video released Thursday. “We have told our relevant ... Middle East