NATO does not expect Nordic countries’ membership applications to be hindered by Ankara, whose concerns will be addressed.
NATO and U.S. say they trust Turkey won’t get in the way Member States of Finland and Sweden in a Western military alliance, although Ankara has expressed reservations.
Turkey made the request on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday, saying it hoped the two Nordic countries End support for Kurdish militant groups appeared on their territory and lifted the ban on the sale of certain weapons to Turkey.
Foreign Minister Mevrut Cavusoglu said his talks in Berlin with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts were helpful.
The two countries have responded to Ankara’s concerns, which Turkey will consider.
Cavusoglu added that he had provided evidence that “terrorists” were present on their territory.
He singled out Sweden in particular, saying the Kurdish militant group the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), classified as a “terrorist” by the United States and the European Union, held a meeting in Stockholm over the weekend.
Still, he said Turkey was not opposed to the alliance’s policy of being open to all European countries wishing to apply.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was confident “we will be able to address Turkey’s concerns in a way that does not delay joining”.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken declined to give details after closed-door talks on the issue in Berlin, but endorsed Stoltenberg’s position.
“I’m pretty confident we’re going to have a consensus on this,” Blinken told reporters, adding that NATO was “a place for dialogue.”
Finland, Sweden announce intention to join NATO
Finland and Sweden took firm steps to join NATO on Sunday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, breaking with a tradition of non-alignment and neutrality.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö confirms that his country will Applications for Membershipwhile Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats announced an official policy change that will pave the way for their country to apply within days.
“Today, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has taken a historic decision and agreed to apply to join the NATO defense alliance,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has worsened the security situation in Sweden and across Europe.”
Today, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has made a historic decision, agreeing to apply to join the NATO Defence Alliance. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has worsened the security situation in Sweden and across Europe. https://t.co/UkEcFhfwXZ
– Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) May 15, 2022
Any decision on NATO expansion would need to be approved by all 30 allies and their parliaments.
Ankara, a 70-year NATO member, is under intense pressure to join Finland and Sweden, which would greatly strengthen the Baltic alliance.
If Turkey’s objections are overcome, ratification could come within weeks, diplomats and officials said, although approval by the allied parliaments could take up to a year.
Moscow has responded to the prospect of the Nordic country joining NATO, threatening retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical measures”.
Finland’s Niinistö spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, saying their conversation was measured and did not contain any threats.
“[Putin] confirm his opinion This is a mistake. We are not threatening you. All in all, the discussion was very, I can say, calm and calm,” Niinisto said in an interview with CNN.