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NATO chief vows to settle Turkey’s concerns over expansion

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Copenhagen, Denmark | Xinhua | Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), on Thursday pledged to address Turkey’s concerns on Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the military alliance.

“We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed,” he said at a press conference held jointly with his host, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Finland and Sweden have decided to apply for NATO membership. Turkey has said it opposed the two Nordic states’ accession to the military alliance.

Stoltenberg said that the applications by Finland and Sweden to join NATO will be handled in a coordinated manner as “the security interests and concerns of all allies need to be taken into account.”

He noted that NATO is “in close contact with Finland and Sweden and Turkey.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he could not agree to the accession of Finland and Sweden, which have levied sanctions on Turkey.

Ankara has accused both nations of supporting “terrorist organizations,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Kurdish militia People’s Defence Units in Syria.

Russia, which could see its land border with NATO countries doubles, has also repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, saying such a move would oblige it to “restore military balance” by strengthening its defenses in the Baltic Sea region.



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