Turkey’s concerns about Finland’s and Sweden’s membership of NATO are justified, Stoltenberg said. “These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, about arms exports,” the secretary general said at a joint press conference with Finnish president Niinistö.
The two countries submitted their membership applications last month, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But Turkish president Erdogan does not want them in the military alliance, because he says they support Kurdish militias such as the PKK and YPG.
Stoltenberg said Turkey is an important ally because of its strategic location on the Black Sea between Europe and the Middle East. He also referred to Turkish support for Ukraine since the invasion of Russian troops. Stoltenberg and Niinistö said at the press conference that talks with Turkey continue, but did not report whether progress is being made.
Last month, Stoltenberg said he wants to try to alleviate Turkish concerns. “I have every confidence that this will work out,” he said then.