Sunday, September 24, 2023

Blinken in Türkiye backs NATO membership for Sweden, Finland

At a press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Mr Blinken said Sweden and Finland should be admitted to NATO as quickly as possible.

• February 20, 2023
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken [Photo credit: FT]

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday reiterated his country’s support for swift NATO membership for Sweden and Finland.

Mr Blinken reiterated the support at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara on Monday.

The two Nordic countries should be admitted to NATO as quickly as possible, Mr Blinken said.

Mr Blinken stressed that Sweden and Finland have already both taken concrete steps to address Turkish concerns and said the United States is confident that it will soon be able to welcome both countries to the military alliance.

Turkey and Hungary are the only two NATO countries that have not yet approved Sweden and Finland for NATO membership. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has justified his delay primarily by citing what he claims is alleged support for “terrorists” in Sweden.

The two Nordic nations applied to join NATO in May 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. An applicant for NATO membership must be approved by every NATO member before joining the alliance.

Meanwhile, Mr Çavuşoğlu, the Turkish foreign minister, appealed to the U.S. Congress to approve to the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

Mr Çavuşoğlu argued that the deal has nothing to do with Sweden and Finland, although U.S. lawmakers have directly tied the sale to Turkey approving the NATO applications.

Twenty-seven U.S. senators from the Democratic and Republican parties signed a letter in February calling on President Joe Biden to wait until Turkey has ratified the two countries’ bids to join the alliance before delivering F-16 fighter jets. 


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