Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey on May 14, 2022.
Stoltenberg, who visited Washington this week, tweeted late Friday that he met with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin while there and discussed "the need to address Turkey's concerns and move forward'' with the Finnish and Swedish membership applications.
Russia's war in Ukraine pushed the Nordic countries to apply to join NATO, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Sweden and Finland of supporting Kurdish militants deemed by Turkey to be terrorists.
Stoltenberg said he had a "constructive phone call'' with Erdogan, calling Turkey a "valued ally'' and praising Turkish efforts to broker a deal to ensure the safe transportation of grain supplies from Ukraine amid global food shortages caused by Russia's invasion. Stoltenberg tweeted that he and Erdogan would continue their dialogue, without elaborating.
The NATO chief's diplomatic efforts came before a gathering of senior officials from Sweden, Finland and Turkey next week in Brussels, where NATO is based, to discuss Turkey's opposition to the applications.