NATO hopes that the Nordic countries’ efforts to become a member will not be hindered by Ankara.
NATO and the United States say they are confident that Turkey will not stand in the way member of Finland and Sweden in the Western military alliance, despite Ankara’s expressed reservations.
Turkey made the request on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, saying it wanted the two Nordic countries End support for Kurdish militant groups presence on their territory, and lifted a ban on the sale of certain weapons to Turkey.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his talks with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts in Berlin were very helpful.
The two countries have made proposals in response to Ankara’s concerns, which Turkey will consider.
Cavusoglu added that he had provided evidence that “terrorists” were present on their territory.
He spoke specifically of Sweden, saying that the Kurdish militant group of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), banned by the US and European Union as “terrorists”, held meetings in Stockholm over the weekend.
However, he said, Turkey has no objection to the union’s open-door policy to all European countries that want to adopt it.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was confident “that we will be able to address the concerns that Turkey has expressed in a way that does not delay membership”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to go into details after closed-door conversations on the matter in Berlin, but echoed Stoltenberg’s views.
“I am very confident that we will reach consensus on that,” Blinken told reporters, adding that NATO was “a place for dialogue.”
Finland, Sweden announce their intention to join NATO
Finland and Sweden on Sunday took firm steps to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, breaking with traditions of non-alignment and neutrality.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto confirms that his country will apply to joinwhile members of Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party announced a formal policy change that would pave the way for their country to adopt within days.
“Today, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has taken the historic decision to say yes to join the NATO defense alliance,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has worsened the security situation of Sweden and Europe in general.”
Today, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has taken the historic decision to say yes to applying to join the NATO defense alliance. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has worsened the security situation of Sweden and Europe in general. https://t.co/UkEcFhfwXZ
– Ann Linde (@AnnLinde) May 15, 2022
Any decision on NATO expansion would require the approval of all 30 allies and their parliaments.
Ankara, a NATO member for 70 years, is under immense pressure to make concessions for the accession of Finland and Sweden, which would significantly strengthen the alliance in the Baltic Sea.
If Turkey’s objections are overcome, approval could be within weeks, although ratification by allied parliaments could take up to a year, diplomats and officials said.
Moscow has responded to the prospect of Nordic countries joining NATO by threatening retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical measures”.
Finland’s Niinisto, who spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, said their conversation was measured and did not contain any threats.
“[Putin] confirm that he thinks That’s a mistake. We do not threaten you. Overall, the discussion, I would say was very calm and cool,” Niinisto said in an interview with CNN.