Macron pleased with Türkiye's support for Finland, Sweden's accession to NATO

French president stresses need to respect the security interests of each of the allies in alliance’s strategic decisions, including those of Türkiye

Cindi Cook   | 01.07.2022
Macron pleased with Türkiye's support for Finland, Sweden's accession to NATO


French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday he was pleased with Türkiye's decision to support Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the three-day NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, Macron started by thanking his host country but quickly moved to address the growing threats and need for a strengthened unity among member states.

“We have had the opportunity this morning to discuss the threats and challenges we all face and the need to respect the security interests of each of the allies in the strategic decisions we take,” he said.

“We have sometimes had frank discussions in the past, in particular with Türkiye on these subjects. We are pursuing them because an alliance has been made for this and because I am attached to cohesion.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May had accused Finland and Sweden of sympathizing with Kurdish rebels and said he would block the two countries’ accession to NATO.

Erdogan has said that the two nations have become havens for the rebels.

“These countries have almost become guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” he was quoted by The New York Times as saying. “It is not possible for us to be in favor.”

On Wednesday in Madrid, however, Erdogan had set his objections aside, saying in a statement that his country had struck a deal with Finland and Sweden on NATO membership, according to reporting by euronews. The deal came after three hours of talks on Tuesday at the summit.

Erdogan said he had obtained “full cooperation” from Finland and Sweden against Kurdish PKK fighters and their allies.

The two Nordic countries had not as yet become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, maintaining their longtime neutrality. But in the face of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, both governments saw fit to quickly move their membership requests forward.

NATO countries at the summit formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after the agreement to end opposition with Türkiye was reached. Their accession, however, must be approved by all 30 NATO member states.

Türkiye has been a member of NATO since 1952, joining at the time in order to bond with the West over the then-Soviet Union. Of late, however, Erdogan has been on friendly terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite Türkiye’s recent blockade of Russian ships in the Black Sea that were headed toward Ukraine.

Moreover, Türkiye’s crucial position in the region as the gateway to Europe on one side and the Middle East on the other and the state with the second-largest army in NATO means their membership and role in the alliance is key.

Concrete steps were also outlined at the summit to move Europe toward a stronger world order, which will now include its neighbors to the north. ​​​​​​​

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