Finland’s President and Sweden’s Prime Minister are expected in the White House. It’s about the NATO applications of the countries against which Turkey braces itself for the time being. Can Ankara be changed?
The NATO countries are trying to dissuade Turkey from its opposition to the admission of Sweden and Finland into the military alliance.
US President Joe Biden will receive Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö this Thursday. At the meeting in the US capital Washington, the main focus will be on the NATO applications of the two northern EU states, which are currently being blocked by Turkey. The US government expressed confidence that it would be possible to find a solution to the differences in the end.
Turkey blocks accession talks in the NATO Council
Against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland officially applied for membership in the transatlantic alliance on Wednesday. Finland is the EU country with the longest national border with Russia. However, Turkey carried out its threats and initially blocked a quick start to accession talks with the two countries in the NATO Council. The government in Ankara raised security concerns over the alleged support of both countries for the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK and the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria.
It is unclear how Turkey can be prevented from vetoing Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership. According to diplomats, in addition to declarations by the northern countries on the fight against terrorism, arms deals hoped for by Turkey could also play a role. The government in Ankara wants to buy F-16 fighter jets in the USA – but a possible deal was politically controversial in Washington recently.
US optimistic, “Turkey’s concerns” will be taken into account
The US government was optimistic that a solution would be possible. “We are confident that Finland and Sweden will ultimately have an effective and efficient accession process that can address Turkey’s concerns,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at the White House on Wednesday (local time). “Finland and Sweden are working directly with Turkey to achieve this, but we are also speaking to the Turks to try and facilitate the process.”
Sullivan said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and he spoke to their respective Turkish counterparts on Wednesday – “and we are very confident about further developments”. Despite the talks with the USA, Turkey is sticking to its stance for the time being. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after the meeting with his counterpart that he had made Turkey’s position on the northern expansion of the military alliance clear to Blinken. Basically, however, Cavusoglu rated the talks as “extremely positive”. Blinken said Turkey’s concerns were legitimate, Cavusoglu said.
Biden emphasizes his government’s commitment to NATO
Biden welcomed Finland and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership and underlined his government’s commitment to the alliance. Biden said he strongly supports the “historic motions”. He looks forward to working with the US Congress and NATO allies “to quickly incorporate Finland and Sweden into the strongest defense alliance in history.” While the requests were being considered, the US would work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against threats to common security and to counter aggression.
The top NATO military officers responsible for defense are also meeting in Brussels this Thursday. Among other things, it should go to the NATO summit in June and Russia’s war against Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will also attend one of the meetings.