NATO had no reason to believe there would be any problems with the membership applications of Sweden and Finland, alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, admitting he was blindsided by "legitimate" Turkish concerns. He still wants Stockholm and Helsinki to join as soon as possible.
"We have to address the security concerns of all Allies. And as you mentioned, Türkiye has raised some concerns, including Türkiye’s fight against PKK," the NATO chief said.
"My staff also remain in close dialogue with officials from all three countries, in order to address the Turkish concerns swiftly and move forward on Swedish and Finnish accession to the Alliance," Stoltenberg stressed.
"Seen from a security perspective, of course, the fact that Sweden applied, made that historic decision, that then the NATO Allies responded by partly making it clear that many NATO Allies have already issued security assurances to Sweden," he added.