BRUSSELS, June 12. /TASS/. NATO doesn’t see the Madrid summit on June 28-30 as a deadline to approve Finnish, Swedish membership bids as Turkey’s concerns are being considered, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday.
"The summit in Madrid was never a deadline," he said at a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki, when asked if the concerns will be settled by the time of the summit.
"Turkey has raised some concerns and then we sit down and we are working on them as we speak," Stoltenberg continued. "We have frequent, regular contacts with Turkey, and with Finland and Sweden, to look into the issues that Turkey has raised."
"Turkey is an important ally," the general secretary said. "Turkey has played a key role in our fight against terrorist groups like ISIS / DAESH (banned in Russia). We also need to take into account that no other NATO ally hosts more refugees than Turkey."
"We have to remember that what we face is a more dangerous world," Stoltenberg said. He said Russia is trying to "re-establish a world order with spheres of influence" and that was a reason that triggered the Finnish decision to join NATO. Turkey, he said, supports NATO’s Open Door policy.
The Finnish president express surprise with the position of Turkey, which, he said, as recently as in April said it would be supportive of Swedish and Finnish membership bids.
Turkey, in exchange for agreeing to accept Sweden and Finland into NATO, demanded that Kurdish organizations in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, which Stockholm and Helsinki traditionally supported, be recognized as terrorist.
During talks on May 25 Ankara, according to Turkish media, put forward a set of 10 demands to Sweden and Finland, saying they needed to be met before Turkey would support the admission of these countries into NATO.
Some of the demands, according to news reports, are for both countries to declare support for Ankara in countering terrorist organizations and adopt appropriate legislation. Sweden and Finland must close all organizations on their territory that are associated with the PKK, which is banned in Turkey, shut down their assets and media resources, and prevent their re-opening.