NATO Chief Says “Turkey’s Security Concerns are Legitimate” but Possible to Overcome

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the security concerns Turkey raised in its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications are legitimate but possible to overcome “within a reasonable time.” 

“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” Stoltenberg said during his visit to Finland. 

According to Stoltenberg, Turkey was a key ally of the alliance because of its strategic location on the Black Sea between Europe and the Middle East. 

“We have to remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkiye,” Stoltenberg said. 

Earlier, NATO officials promised Finland and Sweden that the first stage of their NATO bid would not take long. 

However, before the applications even went through the first stage, Turkey opposed their NATO bid for concerns about terrorism and support for the Kurds, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly called Sweden and Finland “guesthouses” for terrorists. 

On Monday, Stoltenberg said his goal “is to have Finland and Sweden as members as soon as possible. It can still be quick compared with other accession processes.” 

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