Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) NATO and the US predicted on Sunday that Turkey’s demands will not delay expansion of the alliance as Finland and Sweden prepare to join.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that he is convinced Turkey’s demands will be met “in a way that doesn’t delay the membership,” according to Reuters reporting.
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, echoed Stoltenberg’s position and expressed belief that NATO will reach consensus on planned expansion.
Finland confirmed on Sunday that it plans to apply for NATO membership, while Sweden previously announced policy changes that would allow it to apply for NATO membership in the coming days.
Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, announced plans to secure parliamentary support for the application today, while Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde pointed out that “Russian invasion of Ukraine has deteriorated the security situation for Sweden and Europe as a whole.”
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist stressed the importance of joining the alliance, warning that the country “would be in a perilous situation if it was the only country around the Baltic that remained outside NATO.”
Earlier on Sunday, Turkey expressed reservations about planned expansion of NATO and presented its demands to support the move.
Ankara wants the two Nordic countries to stop supporting Kurdish militant groups there and remove bans on arms sales to Turkey.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, noted that he discussed this with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts in Berlin on Sunday.
Çavuşoğlu pointed out that he provided his counterparts with proof that terrorist groups are present in Finland and Sweden, and added that the two foreign ministers proposed solutions, which Ankara will consider.
While Finland and Sweden did not seek NATO membership throughout the Cold War, the conflict in Ukraine prompted the two Nordic countries to apply.
According to diplomats and officials, NATO could approve Finland and Sweden’s applications in weeks if Turkey’s demands are met and added that ratification could take as much as one year.
Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, noted that he discussed the country’s plan to join NATO with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Niinistö pointed out that Putin thinks the move is a mistake and stressed that “the discussion was very, could I say, calm and cool.”