No NATO ally suffers more terrorist attacks than Turkey: Stoltenberg
“I also recognize the importance of addressing the concerns that Turkey has raised,” Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on May 24.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began in February. But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating, and even supporting terrorist groups, including the PKK.
Calling Turkey “an important ally” that has played a “key role in the fight against ISIL,” Stoltenberg said, Turkey has a “strategic geographic location,” which “is important for the whole alliance.”
“No other NATO Ally, has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, and no other NATO Ally holds more refugees than Turkey.”
“We have to sit down and find a way forward,” he said, and added: “I’m confident that we will do so, as we’ve done so many many times before in NATO, to find a way to solve these issues.”
“In the meantime, we need to make sure that we also address some of the concerns that Finland and Sweden has raised about this interim period.”
“I know Finland and Sweden well as a Norwegian, they will contribute to our collective defense, to our shared security. It will be of particular importance for the Baltic region.”
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
In his speech, Stoltenberg also said Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a “big mistake.”
“I believe that one of the purposes, one of the stated purposes, actually, with this invasion of Ukraine was to get less NATO on Russia’s borders. And now he gets more NATO enlargement and he has not achieved his strategic goals in Ukraine.”