September 27, 2022

US says there are no plans to discuss Turkey’s concerns over NATO expansion

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United States President Joe Biden is currently not planning talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sweden and Finland joining the North Atlantic Alliance. This was announced on Thursday, May 20, by Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to the American leader.

“At the moment there are no such plans,” Sullivan replied to the relevant question during a telephone conversation, the recording of which was published on the White House YouTube channel.

On May 19, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told NATO representatives that Turkey would block the alliance’s decision on the entry of Sweden and Finland. He justified his position by “the inadmissibility of the presence of terrorist organizations in NATO”

On May 18, Sweden and Finland officially applied to join NATO. The ambassadors of the two countries handed them over to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the headquarters in Brussels.

On the same day, it became known that Turkey blocked the start of negotiations in NATO on the accession of Finland and Sweden. The countries were to discuss the applications submitted by the ambassadors, which would mark the beginning of the admission process to the organization. The Turkish side made it clear that at the moment it cannot approve the start of the discussion. As a result, negotiations did not start because of Ankara’s position.

As Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pointed out on May 14, the majority of Turkish citizens oppose the accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Alliance, since these countries openly support the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), which is recognized as a terrorist in Turkey.

In turn, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson reported that Sweden is ready to make contacts with Turkey in order to resolve the differences that have arisen between Ankara and Stockholm.

In a comment to Izvestia, Dmitry Belik, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said that Turkey has the right to slow down the prompt admission of Finland and Sweden to the alliance, since Ankara has certain conditions. The politician noted that when a new member joins the bloc, it is necessary that this decision be approved by all current NATO members. Despite the rapid course of Finland and Sweden towards membership in the alliance, which the United States is counting on, not all countries share such an expansion, as Italy, in addition to Turkey, expressed.

Russia also reacted critically to the statement by the authorities of Finland and Sweden about plans to join NATO. Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that NATO expansion is artificial and goes beyond its geographical purpose, thus trying to influence other regions.

In turn, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov indicated that Moscow would closely monitor what would be the consequences of Finland and Sweden joining NATO in terms of Russia’s security.

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