On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is “confident” that NATO will reach a consensus on accepting Finland and Sweden after speaking with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Blinken attended a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday. “I don’t want to characterize the specific conversation that we had either with the foreign minister or within the NATO sessions themselves, but I can say this much: I heard, almost across the board, very strong support for [Finland and NATO] joining the alliance if that’s what they choose to do. And I’m very confident that we will reach consensus on that,” Blinken told reporters.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara “doesn’t hold positive views” of Finland and Sweden’s potential membership, signaling Turkey might block them from joining the alliance. Turkey’s issue is Helsinki and Stockholm’s alleged support for the PKK, a Kurdish militant group Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization.
Following the NATO foreign minters meeting, Cavusoglu signaled Ankara is still not totally on board with the two Nordic countries joining the alliance. “Countries supporting terrorism should not be allies in NATO,” he said. But other NATO officials echoed Blinken’s comments and said they don’t expect Turkey to block Finland and Sweden’s membership.
“Turkey has made it clear that their intention is not to block membership,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “I’m confident that we will be able to address the concerns that Turkey has expressed in a way that doesn’t delay the membership.”