Security concerns raised by Turkiye in its opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership applications are legitimate, the Western military alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Finland on Sunday, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.
Stoltenberg, visiting Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, said it was important to note that no other NATO ally had suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, and that therefore its concerns needed to be taken seriously.
Sweden and Finland applied to join the Western defense alliance last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but their bids have faced resistance from Turkiye, which has accused them of supporting terrorist groups.
While the two Nordic countries have said talks would continue to resolve the dispute, Ankara said it had not received any responses to its demands, including stopping support for groups Turkiye 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. Turkiye, which has been a NATO ally for over 70 years, has said it will not change its view unless the Nordic countries take “concrete steps” about its concerns.