Stockholm, Helsinki apply for membership in Western defense alliance last month, but face Turkey
Ankara “plays with time” for the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, expecting the maximum in the “bazaar” that has begun.
Talks between Turkey, Finland and Sweden on the two Nordic countries joining NATO will continue, but the Alliance summit in Madrid next week is not a deadline, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Turkish president, said Monday after talks in Brussels.
Stockholm and Helsinki applied to join the Western Defense Alliance last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has accused them of supporting and protecting Kurdish fighters and other organizations that Ankara describes as terrorist.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels after talks in NATO on the issue, Kalin stressed that Ankara expects from Sweden, in particular, take immediate action on the actions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in its own country and that any progress in the Nordic membership applications “now depends on the direction and speed with which these countries take action”.
For his part, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that today’s talks between Turkey, Sweden and Finland to find a solution to Ankara’s integration problems were “constructive”.
“Turkey has legitimate concerns on security related to terrorism, which we must address. “Therefore, we will continue our discussions (…) and I look forward to finding a solution as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg reiterated.