As Sweden and Finland are seeking NATO membership, Türkiye’s security concerns are based on “just and legitimate” grounds, the Turkish leader told the NATO chief on Friday.
In a phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the NATO bids of the two Nordic countries and Ankara's security concerns about their entry into the military alliance, according to a statement from Türkiye's Communications Directorate.
Erdogan told Stoltenberg that Sweden and Finland should prove that they do not support terrorism and are ready to show solidarity of alliance, and sanctions against Türkiye are lifted.
Stoltenberg, for his part, reiterated that expectations of Türkiye, which he called an important NATO ally, to ensure its security must be met.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on May 18, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to their membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups such as the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). The accession requires unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states.
In late May, Türkiye hosted consultations with Swedish and Finnish delegations on their NATO applications in Ankara. Erdogan said the meetings had not been "at the desired level."