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Amid Sweden, Finland's bids to join alliance, NATO chief says Turkiye's concerns must be addressed

05:23 17 May 2022 Author :  

As Turkiye is a valued member of the NATO alliance, any security concerns it has need to be addressed, the NATO chief said Monday after discussing with Turkiye’s foreign minister the membership bids of Sweden and Finland.

"Spoke with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the decisions by our closest partners Finland & Sweden to apply for NATO membership. Turkey is a valued Ally & any security concerns need to be addressed," Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter after a phone call with Cavusoglu. "We must stand together at this historic moment."

Sweden and Finland’s recent push to join NATO – amid the changed security environment of Russia’s war on Ukraine – has not been positively received by Turkiye, a member of the alliance for 70 years.

For any new member to join NATO, all of its members must agree unanimously, including Turkiye.

Over the last five years, both Sweden and Finland have failed to agree to Turkiye’s requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists.

Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that certain Scandinavian countries effectively act as “guesthouses” for terrorist groups.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also expressed reservations over Finland and Sweden joining NATO, citing their support for the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – recognized as a terrorist group by the US, EU, and Turkiye – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot./aa

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