The NATO chief mentions conditions for Finland and Sweden

It is unlikely that the two countries will become candidate members if they do not respond to , says

and will probably not become NATO candidate members at the upcoming alliance summit on June 28-30 if they do not meet Turkey’s requirements, the bloc’s general secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced during a press conference with Spanish media on Thursday.

The NATO chief acknowledged Ankara’s stance on the acceptance of Sweden and Finland in the bloc and demanded that Turkey’s concerns and demands be discussed and resolved.

Ankara has opposed the two ‘accession to the US-led alliance, citing their support for what Turkey considers to be terrorist , namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement (FETO). Turkey demands that the two nations apply the same terrorist designation to these groups and extradite people affiliated with the organizations.

“No country has suffered as much from terrorist attacks as Turkey.” said Stoltenberg, adding “Turkey is an important ally and when an ally has concerns, it should be discussed and the problem resolved.”

He noted that this is how things are done in NATO, recalling that the candidate status of the Republic of Northern Macedonia was maintained for over 10 years due to a veto from Greece, which referred to similar problems as Turkey, and that the issue was eventually resolved.

“Sweden and Finland can participate as host countries in the NATO summit to be held in , but if they do not respond to Turkey’s demands before 28 June, it will be difficult to fulfill their desire to become a candidate country.”said Stoltenberg, emphasizing that he wanted it to be so “a fast process” and that there was still enough time for it.

The two Nordic states both decided to break with their history of neutrality on 15 May, citing Russia’s military operation that motivated them to join NATO. Their candidacy for membership was welcomed by Washington and its European NATO allies, but Turkey and have threatened to block applications unless their national security concerns are addressed.

Moscow has called Swedish and Finnish applications a “serious mistake with long-term consequences” but has stated that their NATO aspirations were still less worrying than those of Ukraine, whose potential territorial claims could constitute “great risks for the whole continent” if it was accepted in the block.


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