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In meeting with the United States, Turkey gives mixed signals on NATO enlargement

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WASHINGTON (AP) The United States struggled on Wednesday to get clarification from Turkey on the seriousness of its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, as the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken an increasingly hard line against their membership bids.

In a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the United Nations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave mixed signals. He affirmed his country’s support for NATO’s open-door policy and his understanding of Finland’s and Sweden’s desire to join the alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But he also repeated Erdogan’s demands that Turkey’s security concerns over candidate countries be taken into account.

Turkey supported NATO’s open door policy even before this war,” he said. “But with regard to these candidate countries, we also have legitimate security concerns because they support terrorist organizations and there are also export restrictions on defence. products, he said.

We understand their security concerns, but Turkey’s security concerns must also be met and this is an issue we must continue to discuss with our friends and allies, including the United States, Cavusoglu said.

Later, speaking to Turkish journalists, Cavusoglu stepped up his criticism, accusing Sweden not only of supporting groups linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, but also of supplying arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Turkey sees as an extension of the militant group. .

Everyone says Turkey’s concerns must be addressed, but it must not just be done with words, it must be implemented, he said.


His remarks came as US officials try to figure out how serious the often mercurial Erdogan is about it and what it would take to back him down. In the meantime, US officials have essentially ignored Erdogan’s comments in their public statements.

Without acknowledging Erdogan’s complaints about Finland and Sweden, Blinken stressed that Washington would work to ensure the success of the NATO enlargement process.

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