White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that Washington is “working to clarify Turkey’s position” after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
Saki said the idea of the two countries becoming members of the transatlantic alliance had received “widespread support from NATO member states”.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby similarly said the United States was working to “better understand” Ankara’s stance.
“Turkey is an important NATO ally, which has not changed. They have been involved and helpful in trying to advance the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, and they have provided assistance to Ukraine. Hence their position in the NATO alliance. Nothing changes,” he said.
Erdogan told reporters on Friday that “we do not have a positive opinion” about the two countries joining the alliance, adding that they harbor “terrorist organisations”.
Turkey has long accused the Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, which has a strong Turkish immigrant community, of harboring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher on the failed 2016 coup. Wanted to have.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February has changed political and public opinion in Finland and Sweden in favor of membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression.
Once a country decides to apply for NATO membership, the 30 members of the coalition must agree unanimously to make a formal invitation, which is followed by membership negotiations.
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