NATO surprised by Turkish opposition to new applicants — Analysis
Jens Stoltenberg was blindsided by Ankara’s objections to Sweden and Finland joining the military bloc
NATO didn’t have reason to believe that there would be problems with Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the alliance, stated Monday. However, he admitted to being blindsided by it. “legitimate”Concerns from Turkey He wants Stockholm and Helsinki to be joined as soon as possible.
“Earlier in the process, we had no reasons to believe there would be any problems,”On Monday Stoltenberg, who was visiting Sweden on Monday told Financial Times. In April NATO promised Sweden and Finland the accession process would be completed in a matter of weeks. However, Turkey objected to this promise, accusing both of supporting terrorist activities.
“The Turkish concerns are not new,” Stoltenberg added, calling Turkey “an important ally, and when an ally raises security concerns, we have to address them.”
“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,”Stoltenberg stated Sunday in Finland. “We have to address the security concerns of all allies, including Turkish concerns about the terrorist group PKK.”
“My goal is to have Finland and Sweden as members as soon as possible. It can still be quick compared with other accession processes,”The alliance chief spoke to FT.
Stoltenberg said that he was hopeful that the matter will be resolved. “within a reasonable time,”However, there wasn’t a deadline for it to be done. This suggests that it might not happen before the NATO summit at June end.
Ankara accused Helsinki and Stockholm, among others, of harbouring Kurdish members it regards as outlawed. “terrorists”blocking the export of arms to Turkey According to reports, Finland and Sweden have complained about Turkey’s inability to make specific demands. A ten-point list appeared in the Turkish media last week, but it remains unclear whether it represents Ankara’s official position.
Stoltenberg expects to meet with representatives from Finland, Sweden and Turkey in Brussels within the next weeks. Ankara hosted meetings with Helsinki and Stockholm delegations last month. However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, later said that they were not. “at the desired level.”