President Biden spoke with his Turkish counterpart Tuesday ahead of this week’s NATO summit as the Middle Eastern government stands firm in its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the Atlantic alliance.
Biden and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke by phone, the White House said, adding that Biden “looks forward” to seeing his Turkish counterpart during the summit in Madrid — where US and European officials are hoping for a “boost” to the candidacies of Stockholm and Helsinki.
“I’m not sitting here today suggesting that all issues will be resolved by Madrid, but we’re going to try and resolve as many of them as possible so that Madrid gives a boost to their candidacies, even if there remains some concerns on the part of Turkey that need to be worked out,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the G7 summit in Bavaria, Germany.
After formally applying to join NATO in May, the Nordic nations need unanimous support from all 30 current members to be approved as members.
Turkey has remained adamantly against the NATO expansion, accusing Finland and Sweden of taking a lax stance against “terrorists,” referring to Kurdish activists.
Erdoğan stood firm on Tuesday saying he will do “whatever is necessary for our country’s rights and interests.”
He was scheduled to meet with Finnish and Swedish leaders the same day, though the Turkish presidential office warned on Monday that the meeting “does not mean we will take a step back from our position,” according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan indicated that he would present documents on Kurdish “terror groups” to show what he called the “hypocrisy” of both nations. Turkey wants Sweden and Finland to extradite wanted individuals as well as lift arms restrictions.
“We will tell them clearly that it is not possible to expect a different attitude from Turkey unless this picture changes,” the president said following a cabinet meeting.
With Post wires
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