NATO Secretary General: Possible "permanent blockade" from Turkey to Sweden - Finland

Turkey’s blocking of Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids may not be resolved in time for the Alliance’s summit scheduled for later this month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said today.

Stoltenberg said NATO was “working hard” to resolve the “legitimate” issues posed by Turkey.

The NATO secretary-general had in the past insisted that both countries be accepted “with open arms”, but Turkey blocked their candidacies.

Ankara accuses them of offering refuge to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization that Turkey and its Western allies describe as “terrorist”.

“I would like this issue to be resolved as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.

However, “the Madrid summit was never a deadline,” he said.

In early June, during a visit to Washington, Stoltenberg stated that his “intention” was to settle the issue before the NATO summit, which will begin on June 28.

Stoltenberg said Ankara had expressed “legitimate concerns”.

“We must understand and remember that no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey. And also that Turkey is an important ally with a strategic geographical location,” he said.

Any NATO membership agreement must be approved unanimously by its thirty members.

The two Scandinavian countries have repeatedly expressed surprise at Turkey’s objections, noting that Ankara had expressed support for their membership applications until they submitted them.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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