The United States believes Finland and Sweden will be able to work through concerns from Turkey that are holding up their attempts to join NATO.
Both Finland and Sweden have recently sought NATO membership following the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in a more unified alliance than it had been previously. But Turkish officials have opposed their admittance, accusing them of supporting terrorists on the grounds that both countries have refused to deport Turkish nationals whom Ankara has accused of loyalty to the PKK, an ethnic Kurdish militant group.
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"[We are] confident that Finland and Sweden will be able to resolve those [concerns] with the Turks directly," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said while speaking alongside her Norwegian counterpart in Oslo.
The two countries applied for NATO membership last Wednesday but need the support of all 30 member countries.
“It would be unthinkable for NATO, which has faced criticism for two decades for its failure to promote cooperation and coordination between its members in the war on terror, to consider acceding to any nation that has not made a clear decision on terrorist organizations,” Turkish spokesman Fahrettin Altun said last week.
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A day after the two countries applied for NATO membership, leaders of each met with President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden, where Biden said, “They meet every NATO requirement and then some,” and, “The bottom line is simple. Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger.”
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin initially warned of retaliation if Finland chose to join the alliance, he said last week that he has "no problems” with the decision and that its joining NATO would cause "no problems at all."