Macron calls on Turkey to respect the “sovereign elections” of Finland and Sweden with regard to NATO
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “respect Finland’s and Sweden’s sovereign election” to join NATO.
He hoped to avoid Ankara vetoing their request to join the transatlantic defense pact.
Turkey warned on Wednesday that the NATO accession process for Sweden and Finland will not move forward unless they address Ankara’s security concerns, a reference to their alleged sympathy with Kurdish militant groups.
“The President emphasized the need to respect the sovereign elections of these two countries, which arose from a democratic process and as a reaction to the changes in their security environment,” Macron’s office said after a telephone conversation with Erdogan.
“He said he hoped discussions would continue to find a solution quickly,” his office added.
Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their bids to join NATO last week, marking decades of military freedom of alliance, after political and public support for membership soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Turkey, a NATO member, is throwing a screwdriver at work because every membership must be approved unanimously by all alliance members.
Ankara in particular accuses Stockholm of providing a sanctuary for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies.
Erdogan is also considering a new military operation in northern Syria aimed at crushing Syrian-Kurdish fighters who helped the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.
Such an intrusion risks creating new tensions between Ankara and other NATO members, with the United States warning this week that its troops could be endangered.
During the talks between Erdogan and Macron, the two leaders agreed to continue efforts to resume Ukraine’s grain exports now that Russian forces are controlling most of the country’s ports, in order to avoid food shortages that threaten several developing countries.
But on Monday, the Kremlin denied all blame for the halted grain deliveries and accused Western countries of preventing cargo ships from leaving Ukrainian ports.