Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Tuesday that it’s becoming more likely that Finland will be able to join NATO without Sweden as Turkey has more outstanding issues with Stockholm.
“We have no confirmation that will be the case, but we think that the overall assessment after many conversations recently is that the likelihood of this has increased,” Kristersson told reporters.
The Swedish leader said it’s become increasingly clear that Turkey was ready to ratify Finland but not Sweden. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has requested more extraditions from Sweden and was furious over a Quran-burning protest that was held in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Turkey resumed talks with Sweden and Finland on March 9 after suspending them over the Quran protest. A Swedish negotiator involved in the talks said Tuesday that Ankara still wasn’t happy with the steps Stockholm has taken.
“Turkey still doesn’t think we are all the way there, and that was clearly laid out at the meeting,” said Oscar Stenstrom, a Swedish ambassador for the NATO negotiations.
Sweden and Finland initially entered the process vowing only to join NATO together. But Finnish officials have reversed course, saying they won’t delay their membership if Turkey ratifies them first without Sweden.
Turkey and Hungary are the only two NATO members that have not ratified Sweden and Finland joining the alliance. Hungary’s parliament was scheduled to take up the issue on March 20, but now the vote is expected to be postponed by another month.