NATO chief acknowledges Türkiye’s ‘very important work’ to open corridor for Ukrainian grain

Jens Stoltenberg is confident that NATO will find consensus on Türkiye's security concerns related to Sweden's, Finland's membership

2022-06-22 19:06:37


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg praised on Wednesday Türkiye for doing “very important work” to open an export corridor for grain shipments from Ukraine. 

“Türkiye does a very important work in facilitating to get grain out from Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told an event organized by the Politico news outlet.

The remarks came in reaction to Ankara's diplomatic efforts to prevent the global food crisis by opening an export corridor for grain shipments that have been blocked by Russia at Black Sea ports.

Stoltenberg also explained that he is confident that NATO allies will find a consensus on Türkiye's security concerns raised about Sweden's and Finland's NATO membership applications.

He acknowledged that Türkiye suffered the most terror attacks among NATO countries.

Türkiye is of “great importance for our Alliance since it is bordering Iraq and Syria” and it “has played and is still playing a key role in the fight against terrorism,” Stoltenberg said.

He stressed that it is natural that NATO countries have disagreements as they make part of an alliance of “30 different nations with different political parties in power, different history, different geography.”

Stoltenberg also said allies had differences all through NATO's history, but in the end, they “always agree on essential issues" and "are ready to defend each other.”

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups, particularly the PKK terror group. In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people.