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NATO talks to address Turkey’s concerns on Sweden, Finland accession

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Talks among NATO members in Brussels will address Turkey’s security concerns on Sweden and Finalnd’s accession bids to the security alliance, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said

The comments come as Ankara continues to protest Stockholm and Helsinki’s membership bids to join the trans-Atlantic alliance, maintaining both countries have supported and provided a safe haven to terrorists, including members of the YPG/PKK terrorist group and others.

“All NATO allies are of course ready to sit down and address those concerns, including the threats posed to Turkey by the PKK, and this is terrorist threats, which of course, is something we are taking very seriously,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Washington, D.C. at the State Department where he was being hosted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“We know that no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, and Turkey is an important ally not least because of its strategic geographic location bordering Iraq and Syria,” he was quoted as saying by the Anadolu Agency (AA).

Stoltenberg said he will convene senior officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland in Brussels “in the coming days,” adding that he is confident “we will find a united way forward.”

“My intention is to have this in place before the NATO summit,” Stoltenberg said, referring to the meeting in Madrid starting on June 28, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

U.S. President Joe Biden, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and their NATO counterparts are meeting in the Spanish capital from June 28-30.

Earlier Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Nordic countries have not yet provided Ankara with concrete responses that meet its expectations.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began Feb. 24. But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the YPG/PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group responsible for a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

All membership applications must be met by unanimity in the 30-member alliance to be successful.

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