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NATO chief calls on Turkey not to veto Sweden’s membership in the alliance

NATO chief calls on Turkey not to veto Sweden’s membership in the alliance


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has called on Ankara to drop its opposition to Sweden’s bid to join the US-led defense alliance, hoping Stockholm’s membership will be finalized “as soon as possible “.

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Turkey, Sweden and Finland will meet later this month in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to try to overcome objections that have delayed Sweden’s NATO bid, the alliance’s secretary general said on Sunday. Jens Stoltenberg after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

In March, Turkey ratified Finland’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but still opposes Sweden joining the alliance, as does Hungary.

Erdogan has accused Sweden of being a haven for “terrorists”, particularly members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group blacklisted by Turkey and its Western allies.


“Sweden has taken important concrete steps to address Turkey’s concerns,” Stoltenberg told reporters, referring to a constitutional change by Sweden and its strengthening of counterterrorism cooperation with Ankara.

“Sweden has fulfilled its obligations,” he said.

Stoltenberg’s talks in Istanbul with Erdogan came a week after Erdogan extended his rule by two decades, winning a fifth term.

The election coincided with demonstrations in Stockholmagainst Erdogan and NATO, in which the flag of the PKK, banned in Turkey, was projected on the parliament building.

Sweden and Finland abandoned decades of military non-alignment and asked to join the alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland officially joined NATO in April, doubling the alliance’s border with Russia.

Asked about Sweden’s chances of joining NATO ahead of the mid-July NATO summit in Vilnius, Stoltenberg said it was time.

He said the next round of talks between Finnish, Swedish and Turkish officials would take place the week of June 12, but did not say when. NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels on 15 and 16 June.

(with newswires)




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