NATO allies must unite against common threats, Turkey tells U.S.

NATO allies must unite against common security and terrorist threats, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın told U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday.

Kalın spoke with Sullivan during efforts by NATO and its members to secure an agreement between Turkey, Finland and Sweden on the latter countries’ accession bids. Turkey is blocking their membership saying they are supporting or turning a blind eye to the threat posed to its security by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and an affiliate in Syria.

There must be unity, harmony and solidarity among NATO allies against terrorism and common security threats, Kalın told Sullivan in a phone call, according to a statement by the Turkish presidency.

Sweden and Finland must fulfil Turkey’s demands and its expectations in the fight against terrorism, Kalın said.

Turkey and the United States have been at political loggerheads over the treatment of Kurdish militants in Syria linked to the PKK. Turkey says fighters of the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) are indistinguishable from the PKK, which the United States and the European Union label as a terrorist group. The YPG has fought alongside U.S. troops in the battle against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, but Turkey has launched cross-border military operations against the group, sparking U.S. criticism and condemnation among some members of the Senate.

Kalın and Sullivan exchanged views about issues on the agenda of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain next week. Washington has hoped that Turkey, Sweden and Finland could come to an agreement before NATO’s political leaders convene for the meetings.

Kalın said no progress could be made until Sweden and Finland took concrete steps. It was unacceptable that PKK/PYD/YPG supporters were disseminating propaganda in Stockholm and through the media while Turkey was engaged in talks with the two countries, he said.

Earlier this week, Kalın said the Madrid summit was not a deadline for an agreement with Sweden and Finland, and that talks would continue. Finland has expressed concern that its bid could be effectively frozen unless an agreement is reached by the NATO meeting.

The United States is encouraging all sides to move forward with a compromise that allows the accession process to move forward, a senior Biden administration official said in a background press call on Wednesday. “We understand that all parties are committed to dialogue and to progress on this,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

“There is very strong allied support for Finland and Sweden’s membership applications, including here in the administration, and also what we’ve seen reflected in Congress. And we look forward to quickly bringing them into the NATO alliance," the official said.

“And we remain confident that Turkey’s concerns will be addressed and that we will be able to reach consensus as an alliance on the entry process.”

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