NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday that he would convene a meeting in Brussels in the coming days with the participation of senior representatives of the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish authorities. The talks will focus on the Turkish opposition to Helsinki and Stockholm joining the Alliance.
– We must address the security concerns of all our allies. I am sure we will find a common way forward. To this end, I am in close contact with President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and the leaders of Finland and Sweden, and will convene a meeting of senior representatives of all three countries in Brussels, Stoltenberg said at a press conference following a meeting with US chief of diplomacy Antony Blinken.
He expressed his conviction that the parties would be able to reach an agreement, and that Turkey would withdraw its objections to the accession of the Nordic states ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid.
The same was stated by Blinken. When asked if the US was ready to sell F-35 fighters to Turkey to persuade Ankara to change her mind, the secretary of state replied that these were separate issues.
Finland and Sweden want to join NATO. Turkey is setting the conditions
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that he is against Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO. He demanded, inter alia, that the two countries stop supporting organizations that pursue separatism and were considered terrorist by Ankara. In particular, it concerns the extradition to Turkey of several dozen people supporting Turkish Kurds and the lifting of the ban on arms exports to Turkey.
As emphasized by the head of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto in the Yle television program, the rules of extradition are governed by international agreements, and each license to export arms from Finland is considered separately in accordance with the applicable law. Helsinki and Stockholm banned the export of weapons to Turkey when it launched a military offensive in northern Syria in 2019 against Kurdish fighters. – Patience is the best medicine. Other NATO countries also think so. We will listen to Turkey’s objections accordingly and consider those matters that may be affected by Finland and Sweden, Haavisto concluded.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / JOHANNA GERON