Finland said it could reconsider joining NATO to break away from Sweden in the face of Turkey’s obstacles
Finland should consider the option of joining the NATO without Swedenaffirmed this Tuesday for the first time his Minister of Foreign Affairs after Turkey exclude approving the Swedish candidacy.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre border with RussiaY Sweden They applied for NATO membership last year after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, ending decades of policy of military nonalignment.
“We have to assess the situation, whether something has happened that in the long term prevents Sweden from moving forward,” said the foreign minister, Pekka Haavistoto the station Yle.
However, he added that it was “too early to take a position on this now” and that a joint application was still the “first option”.
The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tobias Billstromtold the media on Tuesday that he was “in contact with Finland to find out what this really means.”
Haavisto later clarified his comments at a press conference, stating that did not want to “speculate” on Finland’s accession alone “as both countries seem to be making progress”, and underlining their commitment to a joint application.
But “of course, somewhere in our minds, we are thinking of different worlds in which some countries would be permanently excluded from membership,” he said.
The far-right Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital, angering Ankara and Muslim countries around the world.
“Sweden should not expect our support for NATO”Turkey’s president declared on Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“It is clear that those who caused such a disgrace in front of our country’s embassy can no longer expect any benevolence from us in connection with their application for NATO membership,” Erdogan said.
Swedish leaders have strongly condemned the burning of the Koran, but have defended the broad definition of freedom of expression of his country.
The incident occurred a few weeks after a group supporting the armed groups kurds in Syria, the Rojava Committeehung an effigy of Erdogan by his ankles in front of Stockholm City Hall, sparking outrage in Ankara.
Haavisto said the anti turkish protests they had “clearly slowed down progress” on Finnish and Swedish applications to join the transatlantic military alliance.
“My opinion is that there will be a delaywhich will undoubtedly last until the Turkish elections in mid-May,” Haavisto declared.
Turkey has indicated in recent months that has no major objections to Finland’s entry in NATO.
Helsinki had so far refused to speculate on the option to enter without Sweden, stressing the advantages of joint accession with your close neighbor.
But “frustration has grown in various corners of Helsinki”, and “for the first time it has been said out loud that there are other possibilities”, he told the AFP Matti Pesuresearcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
“There has been a change” in the Finnish position, he said. “These Plan Bs are being said out loud.”
Haavisto also accused the protesters of “play with the safety of Finland and Sweden”, with actions that are “clearly intended to provoke Turkey”.
“We are going down a very dangerous path, because the protests are clearly delaying Turkey’s will and ability to get this matter through Parliament,” he said.
Pesu noted that while Turkey had so far given no indication that it would treat the two requests “separately”, it will be “interesting to see how Turkey reacts” to Haavisto’s comments.
In his press conference, Haavisto denied that there was a “Plan B”.
“Such a path has not been seen as possible. It is very difficult to defend the North. Sweden has an important role to play in that,” she noted.
Applications to join NATO must be ratified by all alliance membersof which Turkey is a part.
Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding with the two Nordic countries at the end of June, paving the way for the start of the accession process.
But Ankara claims that its demands remain unfulfilled, in particular the extradition of Kurdish citizens whom Turkey wants to prosecute for “terrorism”.
(With information from AFP)