NATO chief welcomes ‘steps already taken to address Türkiye’s concerns’

Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency (AA)

‘Our dialogue continues, to find a united way forward,’ Jens Stoltenberg says after meeting of allies.

The NATO chief on Tuesday said he welcomes the steps taken to address Türkiye’s concerns, including the fight against the PKK terror group.

“I welcome the serious steps already taken to address Türkiye’s concerns. Our dialogue continues, to find a united way forward,” Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint news conference following the meeting of the seven NATO allies in The Hague, Netherlands.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups, such as the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). The accession requires unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states.

In late May, Türkiye hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the meetings had not been “at the desired level.”

– NATO Madrid summit

About the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of this month, Stoltenberg said it would be “historic and transformative.”

The allied leaders “had an excellent discussion on our preparations, including on the need to continue strong support for Ukraine, both in the short term but also over the longer term,” he said.

“I look forward to welcoming the (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy to address NATO leaders at our summit in Madrid,” he added.

The NATO chief also underlined that the allies will agree to “a major strengthening of our posture,” which will require “more robust and combat-ready forward presence, even higher readiness, and more pre-positioned equipment and supplies.”

He also welcomed that more and more allies are moving to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense.

On the NATO strategic concept to be agreed in Madrid, Stoltenberg said the document will “assess our changed security environment, and reaffirm our fundamental values and tasks; it will be a blueprint for the Alliance’s future.”

The leaders also discussed Finland and Sweden’s applications to join NATO.

Stoltenberg joined the leaders of seven NATO allies to help prepare the alliance’s summit in Madrid slated for June 29-30.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen co-hosted Tuesday’s meeting which was also attended by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, and Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins.

-AA

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