Ankara stated that it will block Sweden and Finland joining the bloc because of their asylum records
NATO needs to deal with Ankara’s objections against the potential accession of Sweden and Finland to the alliance, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Both the Nordic countries have made it clear that they want to join NATO, although their efforts have been thwarted by Turkey. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdan said Friday that Turkey would not accept the Sweden and Finland membership applications. “harboring terrorists.”
On Monday, he said Stockholm and Helsinki shouldn’t even bother sending delegations to Ankara to discuss the issue.
Stoltenberg sent this tweet Monday night: “Turkey is a valued Ally and any security concerns need to be addressed. We must stand together at this historic moment.” He earlier expressed hope that Turkey’s opposition will not delay accession.
Reported to Foreign Minister @MevlutCavusogluAbout the decisions made by our closest friends #Finland & #SwedenApply for #NATO membership. #Turkey is a valued Ally & any security concerns need to be addressed. It is a historic time and we must all stand together.
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) May 16, 2022
Stoltenberg and Mevlut Cacusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, met during an informal meeting with NATO foreign ministers. Cavusoglu reiterated his government’s objections during the two-day event in Berlin.
Sweden and Finland both have a history of providing political asylum for peoples from Turkey, especially ethnic Kurds fleeing internal conflict. Turkey accuses some of them as terrorists and criticizes the countries that host them.
Cavusoglu on Monday stated that, in addition to this, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey must remove restrictions from trade to be able to support their NATO bids.
Peter Hultqvist (Swedish Defense Minister) stated that on Monday, he was in the process of assembling a group of diplomats who would travel to Turkey to attempt to settle this issue. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto claimed last weekend that the president was in Finland. “astounded” by Ankara’s obstruction, but was prepared to discuss the situation with Erdogan.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, both European nations chose to leave their past neutrality behind and joined NATO. Moscow claims that Sweden and Finland would compromise their security if they joined a military bloc Russia regards as a hostile power. This is in response to Washington’s request.
Turkey is not like many US allies and refuses to respond against Russia’s Ukraine crisis through economic sanctions. Instead, it has served as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to grant the regions that had broken away special status in the Ukrainian government.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.