Turkish government has ‘legitimate concerns’ to admit Sweden and Finland in NATO, security alliance secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday during a visit to Finland.
“These are legitimate concerns, this is about terrorism, this is about arms exports,” Stoltenberg said alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. “We must remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”
Sweden and Finland both applied to join the security alliance in May after Russia invaded Ukraine.
But Turkey has since said it opposes the two countries’ membership because it accuses them of supporting terrorist groups, including a Kurdish militant organization that the US and EU have also branded as a terrorist group. .
According to local media, Niinistö said Turkey’s opposition surprised him when he met Stoltenberg during his summer retreat outside the city of Turku.
While Stoltenberg told a press conference that the two Nordic countries were “right” to ask to join NATO, he added that a leaders’ summit in Spain scheduled for the end of this month might not. see a deadlocked resolution on their membership. .
“The Madrid summit was never a deadline,” Stoltenberg said. “At the same time, I would like this to be resolved as soon as possible.”