The time has come to accept Finland and Sweden into NATO, Stoltenberg said in Ankara

The time has come to accept Finland and Sweden into NATO, Stoltenberg said in Ankara

The time has come to admit Finland and ŠVidéd to NATO, Stoltenberg said in Ankara

Illustration photo – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, February 13, 2023.

Ankara – The time has come to ratify the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO as soon as possible, he declared today in Ankara Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg. He added that the decision lies with the Turkish government and parliament. But the head of Turkish diplomacy, Mevlüt Çavuşoglu, responded by saying that Turkey could proceed to ratify the entry of Sweden and Finland separately. According to him, since Stockholm, Ankara has not yet seen any concrete steps to fulfill Turkish demands.

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“The time has come to accept Sweden and Finland among NATO members,” Stoltenberg stressed, adding that it is important for ratification to occur as soon as possible. According to him, the security concerns expressed by Turkey are legitimate. Since last spring, Ankara has accused both countries of not sufficiently cracking down on terrorist organizations operating on Turkish territory. This is, for example, the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Minister Çavuşoğlu repeated at a press conference today that Turkey could approve the requests of Finland and Sweden separately. Ankara has bigger complaints about Stockholm. “We have not yet seen concrete steps (from Sweden),” said the head of Turkish diplomacy. However, the representatives of the two Scandinavian countries reject such a procedure, saying that they submitted the application together and should also join NATO together. By deciding to apply for membership in the defense alliance, Stockholm and Helsinki reacted to last year's armed Russian aggression against neighboring Ukraine.

Last June, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum in which they pledged to cooperate more in the fight against terrorism . However, the states do not agree for a long time on how they manage to fulfill the memorandum.

Helsinki and Stockholm emphasize the tightening of their anti-terrorism laws, but according to Ankara, their requirements are met only to a small extent. Tensions between Turkey and Sweden also increased due to the burning of the Koran in Stockholm, which was committed by anti-Islam activists in January.

Today in Turkey, in addition to the talks in Ankara, Secretary General Stoltenberg will also visit the areas affected by the earthquake. At a press conference with the Turkish foreign minister, he highlighted the assistance provided to Turkey by NATO countries.