Smith: US is grateful for what Ankara has done for Ukraine

Smith: US is grateful for what Ankara has done for Ukraine
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Asked about Turkey's decision not to join in sanctions against Russia and its hindrance of Finland's and Sweden's NATO accession, Julianne Smith has refrained from making any negative remarks.

Julianne Smith, US ambassador to NATO, told a press conference that Washington is "grateful" for what Turkey has done for Ukraine.

Responding to questions online in Bucharest, where foreign ministers of NATO members are to convene on Tuesday, Smith was asked by Foreign Policy correspondent if the US administration still see Turkey as a reliable ally even as Ankara continues to hinder accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. The correspondent also asked whether or not some moves by Turkey in the course of the war between Russia and Ukraine, particularly its decision not to participate in the sanctions imposed on Russia, have led to any loss of confidence.

Smith replied saying that Turkey is a distinguished member of NATO and that the US administration is grateful for what Ankara has done for Ukraine.

She added that Turkey has provided notable economic, security and human support for the Ukrainian people, and that hey have expressed their gratitude to Turkey for all of those in many occasions.

As for the green light expected from Turkey's for Finland's and Sweden's NATO membership, Smith said that all three countries have confirmed that their dialogue on this matter are positive.

Stating that Turkey had "direct and legitimate" security concerns that have to be addresses, she said that she was confident Finland and Sweden will join NATO in a future not so far.

Turkey and Hungary are the only two NATO countries who have not yet ratified Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO, and Hungary's President Viktor Orban recently stated that it will be ratified in early 2023.

The situation is different for Ankara, who says it will approve the two Nordic countries' NATO accession only on certain conditions. The three countries had signed a trilateral deal in late June, with Turkey agreeing to give green light provided that Stockholm and Helsinki crackdown on Kurdish activists allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and hand them over to Turkey, that the two governments do not support the Kurdish militia People's Defense Units (YPG) in Northern Syria, and that Stockholm lifts arms embargoes imposed on Turkey following the latter's invasion of Syrian territories in 2019.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Sweden and Finland are yet to take "concrete steps," and that Sweden is the country that needs to take more steps.