Jens Stoltenberg says that they are addressing concerns that Türkiye has expressed, while Finland says they are committed to ensuring Türkiye’s security if its bid to join the transatlantic alliance is successful.
NATO is in close contact with Finland, Sweden, and Türkiye, the alliance’s chief has said.
“We are addressing the concerns that Türkiye has expressed,” Jens Stoltenberg told a joint press conference on Thursday with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen.
“Because when an ally, an important ally as Türkiye, raises security concerns, raised these issues, then, of course, the only way to do that is to sit down and find ways to find a common ground and an agreement on how to move forward,” he added.
NATO’s enlargement has been a great success, Stoltenberg said, adding that “every country has the right to choose its own path, that of course also includes Finland and Sweden.”
“We are 30 allies from both sides of the Atlantic with different history, geography, political parties in government, and sometimes there are some differences. But we have a long track record in NATO of being able to overcome differences,” the alliance chief said.
Finland commits to ensuring Türkiye’s security
Finland committed on Thursday to ensuring Türkiye’s security if its bid to join the transatlantic alliance is successful.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto acknowledged Ankara’s concerns about his nation’s membership bid but maintained that joining NATO would ensure both nations commit to their mutual security.
“Finland has always had proud and good bilateral relations to Türkiye. As NATO allies, we will commit to Türkiye’s security, just as Türkiye will commit to our security,” Niinisto said at the White House where he was hosted by US President Joe Biden alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
“We take terrorism seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and we are actively engaged in combating it. We are open to discussing all the concerns Türkiye may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner,” he added.
Türkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, criticising them for tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK/YPG.
Over the last five years, both Helsinki and Stockholm have failed to agree to Ankara’s requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK and FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye.
Senior representatives of Finland and Sweden are set to visit Ankara in the coming days to discuss their accession process, which requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.