According to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Washington is “working to clarify Turkey’s position” after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed opponents to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The idea of the two countries joining the transatlantic alliance has received “widespread support from NATO member countries,” according to Psaki. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also stated that the US is working to “better understand” Ankara’s position.
“Turkey has always been a valuable NATO ally. They have been involved and helpful in attempting to initiate dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, as well as providing assistance to Ukraine. So their position in the NATO alliance remains unchanged “He stated.
On Friday, Erdogan told journalists that “we do not have a positive opinion” about the 2 nations joining the alliance, and that they harbour “terrorist organisations.”
Turkey has long accused Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, of harbouring extremist Kurdish groups as well as followers of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher wanted in connection with the failed 2016 coup.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has swung political and public opinion in Finland and Sweden in favour of membership as a deterrent to Russian aggression.
When a country decides to apply for NATO membership, the alliance’s 30 members must unanimously agree to extend an invitation, which is followed by membership bargaining.