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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Finland intends to join NATO at the same time as Sweden


Finland is insisting on its plan to join NATO at the same time as neighboring Sweden and hopes that this will be done by July at the latest. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto announced this Monday at a press conference. He also pointed out that Sweden is Finland’s main military partner and therefore his country will support Sweden in the bid process.

“We remain committed to joining NATO with Sweden,” Haavisto said. “We have made it clear to all our future NATO partners, including Hungary and Turkey, that Finnish and Swedish security go hand in hand.”

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Ankara could accept Finland’s NATO membership, unrelated to Sweden, and that Sweden’s membership remains uncertain.

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made similar statements.

Turkey suspended talks with Sweden last week after Denmark’s far-right party leader Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. In response, Turkey canceled the Swedish Defense Minister’s upcoming visit to Ankara.

In addition, Turkey insists on the extradition from Sweden of about 70 representatives of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have been granted political asylum in Sweden. In Turkey, the PKK is banned and declared a terrorist organization.

Of the 30 NATO member countries, only Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance. The admission of new members of NATO requires the approval of all the countries of the alliance. Finland and Sweden were hoping for a quick accession process and were taken by surprise by Turkish objections.

Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place in Turkey in May, and many analysts believe that progress in negotiations with Turkey can only be made after the elections in the country.

Sweden says it takes Turkey’s security concerns seriously and is implementing a tripartite agreement signed last June, but Ankara insists that is not enough.

In the context of the protracted Swedish negotiations, the question has arisen whether Finland, which shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia, will apply for entry separately.

But Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told a press conference that security guarantees from the United States, Britain and other NATO members mean Finland can wait. .

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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