Press statement

by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Dolmabahçe Palace

  • 04 Jun. 2023 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 04 Jun. 2023 16:06

(As delivered)

Good afternoon,

I have just finished a productive meeting with President Erdogan, joined by members of his new Cabinet.

Türkiye is an important and highly valued Ally, making key contributions to NATO.

This includes troops for our peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
Which is even more important now, when tensions are high.


I thank Türkiye for sending reinforcements to northern Kosovo, following the recent unrest.

Türkiye also contributes to NATO’s training of Iraqi forces.
It has pre-assigned forces to NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Hungary.

And Türkiye has given Ukraine strong support, including through leadership of the Black Sea grain initiative.

I was last here in Türkiye a few months ago, to show my solidarity in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

Since then, NATO has provided major support to the response.
Including temporary housing for thousands of displaced people.

In my meeting with President Erdogan,
I congratulated him on his re-election.
And on the high turn-out among the Turkish people.

President Erdogan and I discussed a range of issues that will be on the agenda for next month’s NATO Summit in Vilnius.

We addressed NATO’s strong support to Ukraine;
Work to further bolster our deterrence and defence and support to Ukraine; and
the importance of our presence in Kosovo;
And not least the fight against terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.


We also discussed Sweden’s bid for NATO membership.

Türkiye has legitimate security concerns.
No other Ally has faced more terrorist attacks.

Sweden has taken significant, concrete steps to meet Türkiye’s concerns.

This includes amending the Swedish constitution;
Ending its arms embargo;
And stepping up counter-terrorism cooperation, including against the PKK.

Important new anti-terrorism legislation has come into force just a few days ago.

So Sweden has fulfilled its obligations.

At the same time, I understand it is hard to see demonstrations against Türkiye, and against NATO, in Sweden.

But let me be clear.

Freedom of assembly and expression are core values in our democratic societies.

These rights must be protected and upheld.

But we should remember why these demonstrations are taking place.

The organisers want to stop Sweden from joining NATO.
They want to block Sweden’s counter-terrorism cooperation with Türkiye.
And they want to make NATO weaker.

We should not allow them to succeed.


At the Madrid Summit last year, Türkiye, Finland and Sweden signed a trilateral memorandum paving the way for Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership.

This included the establishment of a Permanent Joint Mechanism to strengthen cooperation between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden –
Especially in the fight against terrorism.

President Erdogan and I agreed today that the Permanent Joint Mechanism should meet again in the week starting on the 12th of June.


Membership will make Sweden safer, but also NATO and Türkiye stronger.

I look forward to finalising Sweden’s accession as soon as possible.

With that, I’m ready to take your questions, but first, translation.


We'll take a few questions. If you could just please raise your hand if you have a question. And then identify yourself when I call on you.

As you also mentioned in your remarks on the 11th and 12th of July, there will be a NATO Summit in Vilnius. Do you think Sweden will sit at that Summit as a member?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
It is still time to  make that happen by the Vilnius Summit and we need to remember that all Allies made an historic decision last summer at the Summit in Madrid in June last summer, where also Türkiye, along with all of the NATO allies, decided to invite both Finland and Sweden to become full members of the Alliance. And since then, we have seen Finland joining the Alliance as a full-fledged member. Sweden has become much closer to NATO through the decision to be invited by all Allies last summer. And then what we have seen is that Sweden has implemented the agreement that President Erdogan negotiated with Sweden and Finland at the Madrid Summit.  And this agreement, the joint memorandum, points out on the need to do more on terrorism, to lift the restrictions on export of weapons and and military material equipment to Türkiye. And since then, Sweden has amended its constitution, strengthened counterterrorism legislation, lifted its arms embargo. So now actually, it is as easy to export military material from Sweden to Türkiye as to any other NATO Ally. And then we have seen also that Finland, that Sweden and Türkiye are now working much more closely when it comes to exchanging information and intelligence to support the efforts to fight terrorism.  Sorry, I can be a shorter next time.

Raise your hands. We're here please.

We’re interested in knowing your views about what's happening in Kosovo and what awaits Turkish and NATO soldiers there.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
What we have seen in Kosovo over the last days are increased tensions and also violence unprovoked attacks against the NATO soldiers. And I strongly condemn the unprovoked attacks against the KFOR personnel, the KFOR peacekeepers that NATO has in in Kosovo.
KFOR and NATO will take all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens in Kosovo and will continue to act impartially, in line with our United Nations mandate. And I welcome the decision by Türkiye to provide additional forces to the KFOR presence in Kosovo. And we are now deploying around 700 more NATO troops from the operational reserve and Türkiye is leading this effort of providing extra forces.
These are prudent steps that we are taking to ensure that we have the capabilities in place to be able to fulfil our mandate. Both Pristina and Belgrade must take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation and refrain from further irresponsible behaviour. And they should engage in the EU-facilitated dialogue, which is the only path to a political and lasting peaceful solution

Other questions, please. Questions from the floor? If there are no further questions, that concludes this press point. Thank you very much.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
Thanks so much.