Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson to NATO Headquarters on Monday, 27 June 2022 for discussions on Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the Alliance. The Secretary General said the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account as part of the NATO accession process and that Türkiye’s concerns are legitimate and must be addressed.
“We are now working together on an agreement between Sweden, Finland, and our Ally Türkiye, to further address security concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and the Swedish Prime Minister will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO Secretary General on 28 June, ahead of the NATO Madrid Summit.
Turkish President has declared he is against the accession of the two Nordic countries because, according to him, they support terrorist organizations, like the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He also wants Sweden and Finland to lift arms embargos imposed against Turkey in 2019 following military invasion of Syria.
“I am also grateful that President Erdoğan, President Niinisto, and Prime Minister Andersson have accepted my invitation to meet together in Madrid tomorrow,” said the Secretary General. “That will be a further opportunity to address Türkiye’s concerns, and move forward with NATO accession for Finland and Sweden.”
However, Turkish officials said they not expect the summit to resolve these objections.
The Secretary General explained that Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership are historic and that their membership in NATO would boost transatlantic security.
“Together with Finland, Sweden is our closest partner. We share the same neighborhood, challenges, and values, and the same interest to protect our people and the international rules-based order,” said the Secretary General. “Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe. There is much at stake, so it is even more important that we stand together. That is why I have strongly welcomed the applications made last month by Sweden and Finland to join NATO,” he added.
The Secretary General said that the security concerns of all Allies must be taken into account as part of the NATO accession process.
“Türkiye’s concerns are legitimate and must be addressed. No Ally has suffered more at the hands of terrorists than Türkiye, including grievous attacks by the terrorist group PKK,” stated Mr. Stoltenberg. “We all agree we must redouble our efforts in the fight against terrorism. That is why, at the Summit in Madrid, I have convened a special session devoted to NATO’s counter-terrorism efforts.”
The Secretary General underlined that Sweden has launched new police investigations against the PKK and is currently looking at Turkish extradition requests.
“These concrete steps represent a paradigm shift in Sweden’s approach to terrorism in a more dangerous and more unpredictable world,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. “We are now working together on an agreement between Sweden, Finland, and our Ally Türkiye, to further address security concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism. Senior officials from Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden have been meeting at NATO Headquarters under my auspices today.”