The British Prime Minister talks with his Turkish counterpart in an attempt to unblock NATO enlargement

MADRID, 21 May.

The British Prime Minister talks with his Turkish counterpart in an attempt to unblock NATO enlargement


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a conversation tonight with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a round of contacts that includes leaders from Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, in an apparent attempt to unblock the possible enlargement of NATO.

Johnson has shared with his Turkish counterpart his "satisfaction" at Ankara's leadership role in addressing the world food crisis that this week has been in the spotlight due to a UN Security Council session on the increase in hunger. and lack of supply in countries without resources or funding.

In this sense, the British 'premier' has stressed to Erdogan the need to "work together" to ensure "vital supply routes" in order to maintain the production and transport of cereals from Ukraine, according to a statement from Downing's number 10 Street.

Regarding NATO, Johnson has reiterated the "threat" that Russia represents for European neighbors and has emphasized that both Finland and Sweden would be "valuable" additions to the Atlantic Alliance. The British prime minister has thus encouraged Turkey to "work with its Swedish and Finnish counterparts".

In this way, he has indicated that the United Kingdom "is ready" to support Turkey in this new negotiation process to facilitate a solution, especially with a view to the NATO summit in Madrid, which could be "historic" for Helsinki and Stockholm, in the words of the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares.

Erdogan has also spoken this Friday with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and has also pending talks with Finnish authorities. Likewise, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg already confirmed on Thursday that he maintains contact with Turkey for this purpose.

On the other hand, Johnson and Erdogan have welcomed the defense association between Turkey and the United Kingdom, since trade between the two nations, according to a London statement, has increased by 3,000 million pounds sterling (3,547 million euros). euros) in the last year.

In fact, the president of the Turkish Defense Industry Agency, Ismail Demir, announced this Friday that the United Kingdom has lifted its restrictions on Turkish military exports after Erdogan pointed out that these kinds of limitations were one of the reasons which prompted him to veto the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO.

In 2019, the United Kingdom suspended the issuance of licenses to Turkey for the export of weapons that could be used in operations in Syria against the People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara links to the organization of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). , declared by the Turkish Government as a terrorist organization.

This weekend, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusolgu, lamented that these international restrictions were proof of the links between NATO countries with these groups - considered essential by the United States in the fight against the Islamic State -, in Sweden and Finland in particular, which he accused of acting as "guest houses" for sympathizers of these organizations.

The Turkish president has reiterated this same Friday these misgivings about the incorporation of Finns and Swedes to the Atlantic Alliance, referring again to the alleged permissiveness towards "terrorist organizations" such as the PKK and the YPG.

According to Erdogan, demonstrations by this type of group are authorized and extradition requests are blocked. In this regard, he stressed that Turkey had already expressed these criticisms on several occasions in various forums and in bilateral meetings, but has once again offered to provide evidence.