US President Joe Biden announced his support for Finland and Sweden's entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), after the two countries abandoned their long-standing neutrality, while the alliance worked to allay Turkey's "concerns" about the two countries joining this military alliance.

Biden stressed that Sweden and Finland are partners of the United States and NATO and have military power and meet all membership requirements, indicating that he discussed with the two sides the war in Ukraine and the strengthening of security between the two sides of the Atlantic.

The US president believed that Finland and Sweden would make the alliance more powerful, given their democratic experience.

Hours before his first trip to Asia since taking office, Biden met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House to discuss their NATO applications.

"This is a historic event, a watershed moment in European security," White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said. "Two long-time neutral nations will join the world's most powerful defense alliance."

It is noteworthy that Biden made the unification of Europe in the face of the Russian war on Ukraine a top priority.

The US President (center) receives the Prime Minister of Sweden and the President of Finland (Reuters)

For his part, Finnish President Niinistö said that the Finnish armed forces are among the strongest in Europe, indicating that his country takes the concerns of the Turkish side seriously.

He added that his government deals with "terrorism" seriously and condemns and confronts it in all its forms.

As for the Swedish Prime Minister, she said that our accession will enhance the security and strength of NATO because of our capabilities, adding, "Together we confronted the Russian aggression and provided unprecedented support to Ukraine."

Intervention and repercussions

Yesterday, on Wednesday, Finland and Sweden submitted their applications to join NATO, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine caused a major shift in the countries' decades-old policies of military neutrality.

The requests of Finland and Sweden were received warmly by the Member States, with the exception of Turkey, which expressed its objection.

The ambassadors meeting in Brussels were unable to reach a consensus to officially start accession negotiations.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had pledged that the accession process would be "quick and smooth", but Turkey's position requires responding to its concerns before moving forward with negotiations.

Turkey rejects Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO membership (Anatolia)

Turkey's position

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he was "determined" to respond to Finland's and Sweden's request to join NATO, describing Sweden as a "nest of terrorists".

"We are determined to maintain our position, we have told our friends that we will say no to Finland and Sweden, which want to join NATO, and we will continue to do so," he told a youth gathering on the occasion of International Youth Day.

"Sweden and Finland are the two countries that harbor terrorists, the PKK and the Kurdish People's Protection Units," he added.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.

"We are very concerned about these two countries, especially Sweden, which is a hotbed of terrorism and a haven for terrorists," he said.

Erdogan referred to the consensus rule within NATO that "if a country refuses to join, (other countries) cannot accept it."

These statements, which were recorded for a television program broadcast this evening, Thursday, were previously circulated on Erdogan's official account on Twitter.


dispel fears

For his part, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg announced today, Thursday, that the military alliance is working to dispel the "concerns" expressed by Turkey about the requests of Sweden and Finland to join it.

"We are certainly dealing with the concerns expressed by Turkey" in order to reach an "agreement on the way forward," Stoltenberg said during a conference in Copenhagen, after Ankara opposed the requests of the two Scandinavian countries against the background of what it considered leniency by them towards Kurdish groups.

Stoltenberg noted that there is a "long record of NATO success in overcoming differences."

"I am absolutely sure that we will be able to agree on this issue," he added, expressing confidence that the alliance would reach a "quick decision" on the requests from Sweden and Finland.


German welcome

For his part, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz welcomed the planned accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"I say without any hesitation, my dear friends and friends, you are welcome from the heart, with you by our side, NATO becomes and Europe becomes stronger and safer," Schulz said today, Thursday, in a government statement in the German parliament, "Bundestag" in the capital Berlin.

The German chancellor added that Russia's attack on Ukraine prompted many other countries in Europe to rethink its security, pointing out that many countries since then have clearly increased their investments in its defense.

Stoltenberg (centre) pledged that the accession process would be "quick and smooth" (French)

Russian promise

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova vowed that the Russian response to Finland's decision to join NATO would be surprising.

Zakharova said in her weekly press briefing in Moscow that this response will be in the form of military measures, and will be left to the Russian military in the first place.

The Russian "TASS" agency also quoted statements by the President of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, in which she confirmed that Russia's security is guaranteed despite Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO.

The Russian official warned that her country's response to the two countries' accession to the alliance would be militarily proportional to the alliance's presence within the two countries' territories, without providing further explanation.

She added that Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO would negatively affect Europe's policies and would not secure the continent's stability, especially since the decision was taken under Western pressure from the United States and the alliance countries.

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