Brussels, 21 June 2022 (TDI): NATO, Turkiye, Finland, and Sweden held a meeting on Monday in Brussels, Belgium to discuss security concerns.

The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hosted the meeting and Stain Jenssen, Director of the Secretary General’s private office chaired it.

The main focus of the meeting was the security concerns raised by Turkiye to make progress on the NATO membership applications by Finland and Sweden.

Ibrahim Kalin, the presidential spokesperson and special advisor to the President of Turkiye led the Turkish delegation.

While Petri Hakkarainen is in charge of the Finnish delegation. Hakkarainen is the Foreign and Security Policy director in the Office of the President of Finland.

The Swedish delegation was headed by Oscar Stenstrom, state secretary with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the Security Policy Council.

Director Jenssen welcomed the constructive meeting on the historic applications of Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.

“Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO would make the Alliance stronger and the whole Euro-Atlantic area more secure. Turkiye has legitimate security concerns over terrorism that we need to address. So we will continue our talks on Finland and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership, and I look forward to finding a way forward as soon as possible”, said Jenssen.

NATO’s relationship with Sweden and Finland:

NATO shares many areas of interest with Sweden and Finland. For instance, Sweden takes part in NATO’s Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC). This utilizes an evaluation and feedback program to develop and train partner land, maritime, air, or Special Operations Forces units that want to meet NATO standards.

Sweden has been participating in the Interoperability Platform under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative since 2014. Also, this platform brings Allies together with selected partners that are active contributors to the operations.

Moreover, Sweden has assisted the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo since 1998.

Cooperation between NATO and Finland is based on the policy of military non-alignment and a firm Finnish national political consensus. Finland has been its active partner. It also made various contributions to the NATO-led missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In addition, Finland is a member of the Partnership Interoperability Initiative. This initiative consists of six countries that make vast contributions to NATO operations. For instance, in 2017, Finland created the Helsinki European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. NATO and the EU support this Centre.

Most importantly, NATO is partnering with Sweden and Finland in ensuring security in the Baltic Sea region amid the Russia-Ukraine war.