Turkey, Germany, US, UK, France agree in Berlin before NATO summit

Top officials from Turkey, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and France gathered in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming NATO leaders’ summit and regional developments.

Turkey’s Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın, the German chancellor’s foreign and security policy aide Jens Plotner, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, UK national security adviser Stephen Lovegrove and Philippe Errera, director-general for political affairs and security at the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting.

According to a statement by Kalın’s office, the senior officials discussed the NATO summit slated for June 29-30 and its strategic concept, the membership application process for Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids, the ongoing war in Ukraine and Black Sea grain shipments.

At the request of the United Nations, Turkey has offered to escort maritime convoys from Ukrainian ports along a security corridor to ship Ukrainian grain – cereals and wheat in particular – blocked in the war-torn country’s ports. Turkey has volunteered its services despite the presence of naval mines, some of which have been detected near the Turkish coast.

On another note, Kalın’s office said developments in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas were discussed as well as regional issues such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.

The officials also emphasized the importance of alliance solidarity at a time when the global effects of the Ukraine war continue and underlined the need to display a clear stance against terrorism without discrimination.

On Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership, it was pointed out that no progress could be made without taking concrete steps regarding terrorist organizations, according to the statement.

It was also underlined that Turkey will not compromise on its legitimate rights when it comes to issues in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas and that Ankara will resolutely continue its efforts to find diplomatic solutions to regional and global crises.

Russia’s war on Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to formally apply to join NATO on May 18.

But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups such as the PKK and its Syrian wing, the YPG, as well as for weapons embargoes against Turkey.

In late May, Turkey hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in Ankara. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the meetings were not been “at the desired level.”

While the two Nordic countries said talks would continue to resolve the dispute, Turkey says that Ankara has not received any responses to its demands, including stopping support for groups Turkey considers terrorists, lifting arms embargoes on Ankara and extraditing suspects it seeks.

Any bid to join NATO requires backing from each of its 30 members.

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