Sweden and Finland are ready to work with Türkiye on the country’s legitimate security concerns on terrorism, the NATO chief said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the meeting of NATO defense ministers, Jens Stoltenberg explained that NATO is “now working actively on the next steps in the accession process” of Sweden and Finland.
He stressed that Türkiye is “an important ally” that “has expressed some concerns about some specific issues, especially related to the fight against terrorism.”
He also underlined that Türkiye has “legitimate concerns related to their fight against the PKK group and other (terrorist) organizations,” adding that PKK is considered a terrorist organization by NATO, the EU, as well as Finland, and Sweden.
Stoltenberg also welcomed the messages from Finland and Sweden about being “ready to actually take actions and to work also more closely with Türkiye to address their security concerns related to terrorism.”
He said he was confident that even if it might take more time than originally planned, allies will find a solution for Sweden’s and Finland’s memberships, especially as Türkiye is also in favor of NATO’s open-door policy.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Asked about NATO’s efforts in helping Ukraine’s food export, Stoltenberg said he hopes that Türkiye’s efforts in enabling the shipment of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports will lead to a solution.