Finland says in ‘open, direct, constructive dialogue’ with Turkey

Helsinki takes “every NATO member’s concerns seriously,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Friday, adding his country is in “open, direct, constructive dialogue” with Turkey as the country pushes its bid to join the NATO alliance.

It is very important that Turkey’s issues with Finland’s NATO membership be resolved before the alliance holds a summit in Madrid at the end of June, Haavisto told reporters following a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.

He said Finland has been in “active contact” with Ankara amid Turkish disagreements over Finland and Sweden’s membership bids, and is “ready to discuss the outstanding issues with Turkey.”

“Turkey has raised questions in conjunction with Finland and Sweden membership applications. It is understandable that different issues may be raised by different allies along the process,” Haavisto said.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24. Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu earlier today said the determination to combat all forms of terrorism should be included in NATO’s new strategic concept and that his country expects Sweden and Finland to take concrete action regarding this.

I have added that the two countries should end their support of terrorism if they want to join NATO.

Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to two countries’ membership bids, criticizing them for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

All 30 NATO states must give their approval before a new member can be admitted and thus benefit from the pact’s collective-security guarantee.

Blinken continued to voice optimism that the row can be overcome, saying that he remains “confident that we will work through this process swiftly and that things will move forward.”

“It is a process. In that process, countries raise concerns that they may have. We work through them. That’s what Finland and Sweden are doing right now with Turkey and I’m confident that this will move forward,” he added.

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