Jens Stoltenberg said the talks between Turkey, Sweden and Finland were “constructive”, but Turkey made it clear there was still work to be done on NATO bids.
Discussions between Turkey, Finland and Sweden over the Nordic countries’ NATO bid will continue, and an alliance summit in Madrid next week is not a deadline, the spokesman said Turkish President Ibrahim Kalin.
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine four months ago.
But the nominations have been met with opposition from Turkey, which has accused the Nordic neighbors of providing a safe haven for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a “terrorist” group by Turkey and its Western allies. , as well as other Kurds. groups in Syria.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with representatives of the three countries on Monday to try to push forward the Nordic countries’ membership applications.
He called the talks “constructive”, but Turkey made it clear there was still work to be done.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels after NATO talks on the issue on Monday, Kalin said Ankara expected Sweden, in particular, to take immediate action regarding the PKK armed group in its country.
He added that any progress on the Nordic membership bids “now depends on the direction and speed at which these countries take action”.
“The NATO summit in Madrid is not the deadline, so our negotiations will continue,” Kalin told reporters after the talks.
Ankara has accused Finland and Sweden of serving as a haven for the PKK, listed as a “terrorist” group by Turkey and its Western allies.
Ankara also demanded that the two countries lift their arms freeze against Turkey.
Unexpected quick deal
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin recently expressed fears that unless the issues are resolved before the NATO summit in Madrid, “there is a risk that the situation will freeze”.
Germany also dampened hopes of a deal reached this month.
“I think it’s about managing expectations and putting this into historical context,” a senior German government source said on Monday, while stressing that a solution was still in sight, the report reported. AFP news agency.
Speaking in Luxembourg on Monday, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish media that “we have to be prepared for this to take time”.
Ankara’s anger has mainly been directed at Sweden.
Sweden has, however, repeatedly expressed support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed Syrian Kurdish group, and its political arm, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Ankara considers the YPG, which fought ISIL (ISIS) in Syria with Western support, to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
To assuage Ankara’s concerns, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pointed out that Sweden had tightened its “counter-terrorism” laws in recent years, with tougher new legislation coming into force on July 1.