There are increasing signs that Sweden and Finland will join NATO separately. White smoke could soon rise for the Finns – the Swedes get backing from Berlin.
Finland could soon receive the green light from Turkey for its planned NATO membership before its close Nordic partner Sweden. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is on a two-day working visit to Turkey on Thursday, where he will also meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
A representative of the staff of the Turkish President confirmed the Finnish news agency STT. According to this, Finland’s admission could be ratified before the elections in Turkey on May 14.
Niinistö wrote on Twitter that the Turks hoped he would be there when they announced their decision. Of course he agreed. According to Niinistö’s office, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto will also be present.
Erdogan: “Do what is necessary”
When asked by reporters in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey would “keep the promise it made” and could agree to Finland’s accession before Sweden’s. However, it initially remained unclear whether, when and how Turkey would give its consent. “We will meet the President (Sauli Niinistö) on Friday (…) and then do what is necessary,” Erdogan continued.
Finland and Sweden had applied for NATO membership around ten months ago. 28 of the 30 current members have ratified their accession protocols, only Hungary and Turkey not yet. Ankara is blocking the accession, among other things, with reference to an insufficient fight against “terrorist organizations” among the NATO candidates.
These objections are primarily aimed at Sweden. Therefore, for some time it has been discussed whether Turkey will first agree to Finland joining NATO and Sweden could then follow suit at a later date. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said during a visit to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Berlin that the signs of the past few weeks indicate that Turkey is preparing to ratify Finland’s accession before Sweden’s.
“We are also prepared for this situation,” said Kristersson. But make no secret of the fact that Sweden would prefer joint accession with Finland. “We believe that we are ready for ratification. But we respect that only Turkey can make Turkish decisions,” he said.
Scholz provides support
Scholz reiterated that Germany wanted the two Nordic countries to become NATO members very quickly. Measured against the duration, it is also a fast accession process. “But we already have the goal that this will soon become something and that Sweden will become a member of NATO very quickly,” said Scholz. “It’s good for Sweden, it’s good for NATO and our alliance, which has once again underlined its importance and importance in recent months.” North Atlantic cooperation is needed for security in Europe.
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