COPENHAGEN, May 20 (IANS): Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, has pledged to address Turkey’s concerns on Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the military alliance.
“We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed,” he said on Thursday at a press conference held here jointly with his host, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Finland and Sweden have decided to apply for NATO membership. Turkey has said it opposed the two Nordic states’ accession to the military alliance, Xinhua news agency reported.
Stoltenberg added that the applications by Finland and Sweden to join NATO will be handled in a coordinated manner as “the security interests and concerns of all allies need to be taken into account”.
He said NATO is “in close contact with Finland and Sweden and Turkey”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he could not agree to the accession of Finland and Sweden, which have levied sanctions on Turkey.
Ankara has accused both nations of supporting “terrorist organisations,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Kurdish militia People’s Defence Units in Syria.
Russia, which could see its land border with NATO countries doubles, has also repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, saying such a move would oblige it to “restore military balance” by strengthening its defences in the Baltic Sea region.