Turkish foreign minister meets Stoltenberg, Blinken in Brussels
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on social media platform X, News.az reports citing Daily Sabah.
Fidan and Blinken discussed the recent developments in Gaza and Sweden’s NATO membership bid, the ministry said.
According to the U.S. State Department, Blinken stated that he and Fidan had “very good meetings” when he was in Ankara a few weeks ago, and that he expects to have the same good meeting today.
Pointing out that everyone is working on the crisis in Gaza, Blinken said: "As we move towards the next NATO summit in June and the 75th anniversary (of NATO), we have many issues here at this NATO (meeting), including Sweden's membership, many other issues and Russia’s ongoing attacks against Ukraine."
The U.S. diplomat also expressed “gratitude for having the opportunity to share our perspective on said matters and our cooperation with important and very valuable NATO ally, Türkiye.”
For his part, Fidan said “I’m sure we will discuss very important matters and exchange very clear opinions. We really value our friendship and cooperation (with the U.S.).”
Türkiye, along with Hungary, is yet to ratify Sweden’s accession protocol.
Türkiye has been pushing Swedish authorities to take concrete steps to alleviate its security concerns, especially regarding support for terrorist groups such as the PKK and FETO, whose 2016 defeated coup bid claimed over 200 lives.
The protocol is currently in the Turkish Parliament’s hands but officials have warned against any approval until at least the next year.
Ankara has also drawn Western scorn for its strong condemnation of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.
Israeli attacks have since killed over 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.