US Steps Up Pressure on Turkey to Ratify NATO’s Nordic Expansion

(Bloomberg) -- The US signaled growing impatience with Turkey over its resistance to ratifying NATO’s expansion to Sweden and Finland.

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“The United States urges remaining allies to quickly ratify their accession,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday in an account of a call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. He used similar language in summarizing a conversation between Blinken and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom.

The calls followed Blinken’s Wednesday meeting in Washington with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“We are close allies and partners; that doesn’t mean we don’t have differences, but when we have differences, precisely because we are allies and partners, we work through them in that spirit,” Blinken said before that meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has continued to call on Sweden to crack down on Kurdish groups outlawed in Turkey. Sweden insists it’s in compliance with an agreement hammered out at NATO’s June summit in Madrid last year, which allowed the expansion process to move forward. Still, Turkey wants Sweden to take further steps, including the extradition of suspects it labels terrorists.

The two Nordic countries have advanced armed forces that already work cooperatively with NATO members, and US officials have said they would quickly integrate into and strengthen the alliance. Finland and Sweden sought to become members after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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