Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday suggested for the first time that Turkey could approve Finland’s NATO membership without also approving Sweden’s.
“If necessary, we can give a different response concerning Finland. Sweden will be shocked when we give a different response for Finland,” Erdogan said.
Ankara initially opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO over their alleged ties with the Kurdish militant group PKK, which Turkey and the EU consider a terrorist organization. But Sweden has a larger Kurdish diaspora, and Turkey has been making more demands of Stockholm than Helsinki.
Turkey has been demanding that Sweden oblige with its extradition requests for suspected PKK members and people accused of being involved in a 2016 coup attempt. “If you absolutely want to join NATO, you will return these terrorists to us,” Erdogan said on Sunday.
Turkey recently suspended NATO talks with Sweden and Finland over a Quran-burning protest that was held outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden. Enraged by the protests, Erdogan said last week that Sweden shouldn’t expect Turkey to support its NATO bid.
Throughout the application process, Sweden and Finland have said their memberships are linked and that one won’t join the alliance without the other. Finland’s foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, suggested Helsinki could reconsider the policy, although he later walked back the comments.
Finland joining NATO will raise tensions with Moscow more so than Sweden’s membership, as Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia. Finnish officials have said they won’t rule out hosting nuclear weapons under NATO’s nuclear sharing program, although the country’s president said there’s no indication they would be asked to do so.
7 thoughts on “Erdogan Says Turkey Could Approve Finland’s NATO Bid Without Sweden”
Finland is the most important of the two.
NATO represents a new kind of empire: one without geographic limits. Its scope is global and so has no affiliation rooted in physical, real-word-based communities. It is playing 3-D chess with itself, driven to clear the board of pieces. We humans are literal pawns.
I would call it a game of Risk.
At this point, why don’t finland and sweden just make their own joint alliance? It’s obvious NATO doesn’t like them.
Also, the idea that NATO represents western liberal democracies when they include turkey, but not Sweden and finland, is such a joke. Turkey doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a “liberal democracy”, and sweden and finland are great examples of it. Could it be that turkey’s membership in NATO enrages moscow more than swedens, and therefore was prioritized, or have I gone off the deep end with conspiratorial fantasies? probably the latter.
It is obvious that Turkey does not like Sweden, and that Hungary has different goals from the rest, but otherwise NATO most certainly does not have any problems with Sweden and Finland.
NATO does not represent western liberal values – neither Turkey nor Hungary embraces these values and Poland is also flirting with less liberal values.
You have gone a bit off the deep end, NATO does not have a procedure for evicting members and existing members have veto over prospective members joining.
Of course I agree. And yet russia was rejected from NATO on account of the fact that russia isn’t a liberal democracy. “Once Russia can show it is upholding democracy and human rights, NATO can seriously consider its membership.” –Anders Fogh Rasmussen
So while it may be obvious to thinking minds that NATO doesn’t represent western liberal values, it’s not at all obvious to a lot of other people who continue to insist on NATO’s progressive role in the world.
No the real reason Russia was made aware that applying to join NATO would not work is that NATO is a defense alliance against external threats – i.e. NATO cannot engage against one member attacking an other – so the NATO countries that fear a Russian attack would never approve of them joining.
This is why Turkey and Greece had to join together – if one had entered before the other, the other would never have joined.
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