Blinken ‘confident’ in NATO consensus on Sweden, Finland despite Turkey’s concerns

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that he is “confident” that NATO will accept Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance despite Turkey’s reservations over their membership.

At a news conference, Blinken said he had spoken with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on Sweden and Finland applying for NATO membership.

“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 said.

Blinken traveled to Europe this week to meet with fellow NATO members on its ongoing response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the resulting moves from Finland and Sweden to join the security alliance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this week expressed his opposition to Finland and Sweden applying for NATO membership.

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion,” Erdoğan said, according to the Associated Press.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has also indicated he doesn’t expect Turkey’s concerns to hold up the additions, despite approval requiring a consensus of current members.

“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,” Stoltenberg said, according to Reuters.

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