Turkey urged by Macron to respect Finland, Sweden NATO choice

This combination of files pictures created on September 12, 2020 shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: AFP)

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron requested that his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan "respect the sovereign choice" of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

He hoped that Ankara would not oppose their aspirations to join the trans-Atlantic defense alliance.

Turkey warned Sweden and Finland on Wednesday that the NATO accession process would not go forward unless they addressed Ankara's security concerns, referring to their alleged sympathies for Kurdish militant organizations.

After a telephone conversation with Erdogan, Macron's office stated, "The president emphasized the need to respect the sovereign choice of these two countries, which emerged from a democratic process and in response to changes in their security environment."

His office noted, "He expressed hope that the discussions would continue in an effort to reach a resolution swiftly."

Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their applications to join NATO this week, reversing decades of military non-alignment, as political and public support for membership surged in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

However, Turkey, a member of NATO, is throwing a wrench in the works, as accession must be accepted unanimously by all alliance members.

Ankara accuses Stockholm of harboring the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey and its Western allies have designated as a terrorist organization.

Erdogan reportedly considers a new military action in northern Syria to destroy Syrian Kurdish rebels who aided the US-led assault against the Islamic State.

Such an incursion risks causing new tensions between Turkey and other NATO members, with the United States issuing a warning this week that its soldiers could be endangered.

During their conversation, Erdogan and Macron decided to continue attempts to restart Ukraine grain shipments now that Russian forces control most of the country's ports to prevent food shortages in numerous developing nations.

Monday, the Kremlin denied any responsibility for the stalled grain delivery and accused the West of preventing Ukrainian cargo ships from leaving port.

Publish : 2022-05-26 21:45:00

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