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NATO chief Stoltenberg says Turkey’s security concerns are legitimate

The security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications are legitimate, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday during a visit to Finland.

“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, this is about arms exports,” Stoltenberg told a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto as he visited. at his summer residence in Naantali, Finland.

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Sweden and Finland asked to join the Western defense alliance last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has accused them of supporting and harboring Kurdish militants and other groups they deem terrorist.

Stoltenberg said Turkey was a key ally for the alliance because of its strategic location on the Black Sea between Europe and the Middle East, and cited the support it has given Ukraine since Russia sent troops to its neighbor on February 24.

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Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation”.

“We must remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey,” Stoltenberg said, using the Turkish pronunciation of the country’s name, preferred by Turkey and its President Tayyip. Erdoğan.

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Stoltenberg and Niinisto said talks with Turkey would continue but gave no indication of progress in the negotiations.

“The Madrid summit was never a deadline,” Stoltenberg said, referring to a NATO meeting in Madrid in late June.

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Post expires at 4:19pm on Wednesday June 22nd, 2022