US downplays Turkey threat to ‘freeze’ Finland, Sweden NATO bids

A State Department spokesperson said the United States is working for the accession process to be as swift and efficient as possible.

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The U.S. Department of State reaffirmed on Monday that there is “strong consensus and support” for Finland and Sweden’s membership bids for NATO, after President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will freeze the bids if the Nordic countries do not keep promises on counter-terrorism.

According to Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, the United States is working for the accession process to be as swift and efficient as possible.

Finland and Sweden applied for membership of the defense alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but were met with opposition from Turkey, which accused the Nordic countries of supporting groups it deems terrorists.

The three countries signed an accord at the NATO summit in Madrid last month to lift Ankara’s veto in exchange for pledges on counter-terrorism and arms exports. Turkey has said it will closely monitor the implementation of the accord to ratify their membership bids.