Blinken urges Turkey to immediately approve Sweden's NATO accession

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(VOVWORLD) -US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged Turkey to immediately finalize Sweden’s accession to NATO, saying the Nordic country had already taken significant steps to address Ankara’s objections to its membership.

Blinken urges Turkey to immediately approve Sweden's NATO accession - ảnh 1 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shake hands during a press conference, in Lulea, Sweden, May 30, 2023. (Photo: TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstroemer via REUTERS)

Blinken also rejected the suggestion that the Biden administration was linking Turkey's approval of Sweden's NATO accession to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara, although he said the US Congress was doing so.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Swedish prime minister in northern Sweden, Blinken said Washington was going to continue to work to complete Sweden’s accession in time for a mid-July NATO summit that will bring together alliance heads of state. 

Turkey has raised important and legitimate concerns and Sweden and Finland both addressed those concerns, Blinken said. Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year.

Bids for membership must be approved by all NATO members but Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve Sweden’s bid. Turkey ratified Finland's NATO accession in March, but says Sweden harbors members of militant groups it considers terrorists.