NATO Secretary-General says Turkey’s concerns on Finland, Sweden are justified

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that Turkey’s concerns about Finland and Sweden joining the alliance were justified.

Speaking with Finnish President Niinisto, the Secretary-General said that Ankara (Turkey’s capital) has “legitimate concerns. It is about terrorism, and it is about arms exports.”

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“We have to remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”

But Turkey has since said it opposes the two countries’ entry because it accuses them of supporting terrorist groups, including a Kurdish terrorist organization. The U.S. and the European Union have also labelled it a terrorist group.

Further, Stoltenberg highlighted that membership of both countries would strengthen the Nordic region of the alliance.

The Secretary-General underlined, “Allies are considering the next steps on your path to NATO. We must address all Allies’ security concerns, including Turkish concerns about the terrorist group PKK.

While having discussions with Turkey and the Nordic countries, the Secretary-General asserted, “So I remain in close contact with you, Sauli, and your colleagues, with Sweden, and with our Ally Türkiye on the way ahead.

My staff also remain in close dialogue with officials from all three countries to address the legitimate Turkish concerns and to move forward on your accession to our alliance,” he said.

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Stoltenberg emphasized that the security of Finland and Sweden matters to NATO and that NATO remains vigilant, with an increased presence in the region and more exercises.

He warned that “Putin’s ambitions go beyond Ukraine. The so-called ‘security treaties’ he presented to NATO and the United States last December made demands not only on Ukraine but also on NATO. These demands amount to the complete rewrite of the European security order, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act. One of the main principles of the Final Act is the right of each nation to choose its own path”.

“The applications by Finland and Sweden to join our alliance send a clear message. Aggression does not pay. Intimidation does not work. NATO’s door remains open,” the Secretary-General said.

 

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