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Turkey’s Erdogan, NATO chief discuss alliance bids of Sweden, Finland

PoliticsTurkey's Erdogan, NATO chief discuss alliance bids of Sweden, Finland

Ankara (The Times Groupe)- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with NATO chief yesterday and reiterated Ankara’s concerns about Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

Turkish government spokesperson stated that Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Jens Stoltenberg that no progress could be achieved without “concrete steps” by both Finland and Sweden that would satisfy Turkey’s expectations.”

Steps could include written commitments to a paradigm shift in fighting terrorism and cooperation with the defense industry, the report says.

Stoltenberg said on Twitter that he had a constructive conversation with Erdogan ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid on June 29-30.

“We discussed the importance of addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns on the fight against terrorism and making progress in the NATO accession process for Finland and Sweden,” he added.

On May 18, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO, spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO, has expressed opposition to these countries’ membership bids, accusing them of tolerating and even supporting terror groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Their accession requires the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states.

Turkey conducted consultations with the Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in Ankara in late May. Erdogan said the talks had not been “at the desired level.”

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