NATO on Wednesday urged Turkey to ratify the entry of Sweden and Finland into the Atlantic Alliancealthough he recognized that the final decision on whether to separate the accession of the two Nordic countries corresponds to Ankara.
“I encouraged Turkey to ratify (the accessions of) Finland and Sweden together already last autumn. That is my position, it has not changed”, declared the secretary general, Jens Stoltenbergat the press conference after the Alliance Defense Ministers meeting held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels.
At the same time, he assumed that Turkey has “different” views on “to what extent Finland and Sweden are in the same position to be ratified” as full members of NATO.
“That is a Turkish decision. Turkey has two documents: one is the accession protocol with Finland and one is the accession protocol with Sweden”, he explained, recalling that 28 allies (all NATO countries, except Turkey and Hungary) have ratified the protocols of the two Nordic states.
“It is up to Turkey to decide whether to ratify the two, and I have recommended that., or if they ratify only one of the two documents. That is not a NATO decision. It is a decision of Turkey ”, she verified.
Thus, Stoltenberg stressed that his position is that Finland and Sweden “are ready” to be full members of NATO.
“The two accession protocols should be ratified by all the allies, but at the end of the day it is Turkey’s decision whether to ratify one or both,” he insisted.
He was “absolutely sure” that Finland and Sweden will join NATO. At the same time, he admitted that order “is not the most important thing”, but that both countries “soon” enter the transatlantic organization definitively.
Finland and Sweden, traditionally neutral countries, applied together last year to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hungary and Turkey are the only two NATO members that have not yet ratified the accession of Finland and Sweden, although Budapest is expected to give its go-ahead soon.
Ankara has indicated on several occasions that it is not opposed to Finland’s entry into the Alliance, but has suspended negotiations with Sweden for allowing pro-Kurdish demonstrations and the burning of a copy of the Koran on Swedish soil.
The Turkish government also criticized Sweden for not extraditing people whom Ankara considers to be escaped criminals, but who have sought political asylum in Sweden.
Precisely, Stoltenberg will travel this Wednesday and Thursday to Turkey, where he will meet with the president of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdoganand with the Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. He admitted that the entry of Helsinki and Stockholm into the Alliance will be one of the issues that he discusses with both politicians.
It will also visit areas affected by the earthquake on February 6.
“NATO and Alliance allies and partners have increased their support and are providing different types of relief measures, NATO has also decided to deploy shelters to accommodate people who have been displaced and we plan to transport this to Turkey in a few days” , said.
He indicated that tomorrow, in his meetings with Erdogan and Cavusoglu, He will express his solidarity and condolences. He will also continue to discuss with them how NATO and allies can help in the face of the earthquake.
He noted that at the end of today’s ministerial meeting he called on allies to continue providing support to Turkey in the face of the natural disaster.
(With information from EFE)
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