NATO chief talks to Erdogan about Finland and Sweden joining

BRUSSELS -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Finland’s Prime Minister and spoke to Turkey's President as he tries to overcome Turkish resistance towards Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.

NATO chief talks to Erdogan about Finland and Sweden joining

BRUSSELS -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Finland’s Prime Minister and spoke to Turkey's President as he tries to overcome Turkish resistance towards Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.

Stoltenberg visited Washington this week and tweeted late Friday that he had met with Sanna Marin, the Finnish Prime Minister, and discussed the need to "address Turkey's concerns" and "move forward" with the Finnish- and Swedish membership applications.

Russia's war on Ukraine forced the Nordic countries to apply for NATO membership. However, Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkey's President, accuses Finland and Sweden of supporting terrorist Kurdish militants.

Stoltenberg stated that he had a constructive phone conversation with Erdogan. He called Turkey a valued ally and praised Turkish efforts to broker a deal for safe transport of grain from Ukraine in the face of global food shortages due to Russia's invasion. Stoltenberg said that he and Erdogan would continue to communicate, but did not elaborate.

Erdogan's office issued a statement in which they stated that Erdogan had stressed that Sweden and Finland must "make it clear that [they] have stopped supporting terrorists," that defense export restrictions have been lifted on Turkey, and that they are "ready to demonstrate alliance solidarity."

In the wake of Turkey’s 2019 military invasion into northern Syria, some countries including the Nordic states imposed restrictions on arms sales.

The NATO chief spoke out in support of the application and was accompanied by senior officials from Finland, Sweden, and Turkey at a meeting next week in Brussels.

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