Blinken: Washington supports the rapid accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday that Washington strongly supports Sweden and Finland joining NATO quickly given the steps they have already taken, although his Turkish counterpart stressed the need for more concrete steps, Reuters reports.
“The United States has strong support for the fastest possible accession of the Nordic countries. The enlargement of Sweden and Finland to NATO is not a bilateral issue. We are confident that NATO will soon officially accept them into its ranks. And this will increase the security of all NATO members, including the US and Turkey,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara.
He noted that both countries are NATO partners under the Partnership for Peace program. According to him, Helsinki and Stockholm have taken concrete steps to fulfill their obligations under the tripartite memorandum signed with Ankara. The US “appreciates these steps,” the minister added.
Çavuşoğlu, along with Blinken, said all countries in the alliance must persuade Sweden in particular to do more to address Ankara’s concerns and win its support for the bid.
In May 2022, Finland and Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Alliance, but Ankara blocked their entry process, demanding that they declare Kurdish organizations as terrorists and extradite individuals accused of terrorism or involvement in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. .
Relations between Turkey and Sweden have soured since the burning of the Koran at the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that after the anti-Turkish actions in Stockholm, Sweden should not expect Ankara to support its bid for NATO membership. Similar statements were made by the heads of the Turkish Foreign and Defense Ministries. At the moment, the process related to the ratification of the Swedish application is suspended.