Europe

Germany says Turkiye’s concerns over Sweden, Finland’s NATO bid should be taken seriously

Defense Minister Lambrecht says intensive talks will continue to discuss Ankara’s objections, expresses hope for finding a solution

Ayhan Simsek   | 17.05.2022
Germany says Turkiye’s concerns over Sweden, Finland’s NATO bid should be taken seriously

BERLIN

Turkiye’s concerns about Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO should be taken seriously, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels ahead of an EU defense ministers meeting, Lambrecht underlined that NATO decisions require unanimous approval from all allies, including Turkiye.

“Therefore, it is also important now to have intensive talks with Turkiye and take its concerns or arguments seriously,” she stressed.

Lambrecht underlined Germany’s support for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership and expressed hope that they will find a solution.

“If strong EU members like Sweden and Finland finally join the alliance, it will enrich NATO. I am confident that Turkiye will be convinced too,” she said.

Sweden’s government signed a formal request to join NATO on Tuesday, while Finland’s parliament is expected to hold a vote later in the day on the country’s application for NATO membership.

Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced its objections to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, criticizing the two Nordic countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups like the YPG/PKK.

Both Finland and Sweden “must stop supporting terror groups,” and give clear security guarantees to Ankara to become NATO members, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

He underlined that NATO is a security alliance, in which member states should show solidarity with each other.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

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