NATO Working With Turkey, Nordics to Address ‘Legitimate’ Concerns, Stoltenberg Says

© AP Photo / Olivier MatthysFlags of NATO member countries flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 22, 2022.
Flags of NATO member countries flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 22, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.06.2022
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday he is in contact with the leaders of Finland, Sweden and Turkey as he struggles to overcome Ankara’s opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.
"I remain in close contact with you and with our colleagues in Sweden and with our ally Turkey on the way ahead," he told reporters at Finnish President Sauli Niinisto’s summer residence in Kultaranta.
Stoltenberg described Turkey’s concerns as "legitimate." Turkey has blocked the two Nordic nations from joining, arguing that they refused to extradite people it accuses of terrorism for having suspected links to Kurdish insurgency.
The dispute was expected to be settled by the next NATO summit, hosted by Madrid on 29-20 June, but Stoltenberg said that it was never a deadline.
"At the same time I would like it to be solved as soon as possible, and therefore we are working with our NATO ally Turkey and also with Finland and Sweden," he added.
NATO flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.06.2022
US & UK Reportedly Pressuring Sweden, Finland to Give in to Turkey's Demands Over NATO Bid
Meanwhile, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said he was surprised by Turkish opposition to his country's bid to join NATO but promised to take Ankara's concerns seriously.

"We have been surprised by the position of Turkey but in international politics it is all the reasons to take seriously what your counterpart is saying, and that’s what we are going to do — take seriously what Turkey puts forward," he told a press conference.

Niinisto spoke after a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who is in Finland for a one-day visit. Stoltenberg will travel to Sweden on Monday to discuss its path toward NATO membership. Turkey has balked at the Nordics’ request for accession after repeatedly accusing them of harbouring PKK "terrorists."
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