Finland must consider joining NATO without Sweden, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said. Ankara announced on Monday that Sweden should not count on Turkey’s support for its entry.
“We need to assess whether something has happened that would prevent Sweden from entering in the long term,” Haavisto told Finnish broadcaster Yle, but added that it was “too early to take a position on this”. According to the Finnish minister, from the point of view of the security of the two Nordic countries, joint entry into the alliance remains “first option”reports the French news agency AFP.
“In my estimation, there will be a delay (in obtaining Turkey’s approval) that will certainly last until the Turkish elections in mid-May,” assessed Haavista, who claimed a little more than two weeks ago that “Finnish is not in such a hurry to join NATO”, that she couldn’t wait for her neighbor to get the green light as well.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Sweden should not count on Turkey’s support for joining NATO after a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist protest took place outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last Saturday Rasmus Paludanwho burned Islam’s holy book, the Koran.
The Swedish authorities condemned Paludan’s act, but at the same time defended the broad definition of freedom of speech in the country.
Even before that, the tension in relations between the two countries was caused by a video of Kurdish activists in Stockholm, which shows a dummy of Erdogan hanging by his feet. The Kurds are targeted by the Turkish military both inside Turkey and in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
So far, the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden have been ratified by 28 out of a total of 30 NATO members, and only the Hungarian and Turkish parliaments have to give their final consent. Turkey is making ratification conditional on several demands, including the extradition of several people considered by Ankara to be terrorists. Most of Turkey’s demands refer to Sweden, not Finland.