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NATO chief acknowledges Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden, Finland's membership bids

No other NATO member suffered as many terrorist attacks as Turkiye, says Stoltenberg

Agnes Szucs   | 24.05.2022
NATO chief acknowledges Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden, Finland's membership bids

BRUSSELS

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged on Tuesday the relevance of Turkiye’s concerns on Sweden and Finland's membership bids for the defense alliance, reiterating that it is an “important NATO ally.”

“I also recognize the importance of addressing the concerns that Turkey has raised,” Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said Turkiye “is an important ally” that has played a "key role in the fight against ISIS/Daesh” and has a “strategic geographic location,” which “is important for the whole Alliance.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that “no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”

“We have to sit down and find a way forward,” he said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began in February.

But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK/YPG. The accession requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.

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

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