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Friday, May 20, 2022

US says working with Turkey on Finland, Sweden NATO membership

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The United States collaborating with Turkey on Finland and Sweden’s potential membership in NATO, the White House said on Friday after Ankara voiced objections. Spokesperson Jen Psaki deferred to the Turkish government on an explanation of their views, but said U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is “continuing to work with Turkey” on the nations’ membership in the transatlantic alliance. “There’s no question, and you’ve seen this from the public statements of a number of NATO leaders, that there is broad support from NATO member countries in Finland and Sweden’s stated interest in applying to join NATO,” she said. Earlier on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Ankara’s position on Swedish and Finnish membership in NATO is “not positive.” “We are currently following developments. We currently do not have a positive position on the issue of Sweden and Finland (joining NATO),” he said in Istanbul. “There are supporters of terrorism in parliament. We cannot be positive towards this,” he added. In July 2020, Turkey slammed a video meeting between Sweden’s foreign minister and members of the terrorist group YPG/PKK, the Syrian branch of the PKK. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the incident “raises serious question marks about Sweden’s approach to combating terrorism as a matter of priority.” Under NATO rules, any decision on enlargement must be made “by unanimous agreement,” effectively giving any member, including Turkey, veto power over prospective members.

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