Finland’s top diplomat hints the country may have to join NATO without Sweden

Finland’s high diplomat appeared to trace on Tuesday that the nation may then have to think about becoming a member of NATO with out Sweden President of Turkey increase severe doubts in regards to the growth of the army alliance.

“We nonetheless need to assess the state of affairs if it seems that Sweden’s bid is a good distance off,” International Minister Pekka Haavisto informed Finnish broadcaster YLE.

His remark got here a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden to not count on help for its NATO membership bid following protests by an anti-Islam activist and pro-Kurdish teams in Stockholm over the weekend.

It was the primary time a senior authorities official from each international locations had expressed doubts about becoming a member of the alliance collectively. Haavisto later backtracked, telling reporters in parliament that his remark earlier Tuesday was “imprecise” and that Finland’s aspiration to affix NATO with Sweden remained unchanged.


He mentioned he spoke to NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg, who informed Haavisto that the army bloc want to see the 2 Nordic nations be part of on the similar time.

“However in fact there have been issues inside NATO about how the (current) incidents in Sweden will have an effect on the schedule,” Haavisto mentioned.

the Supply from Sweden and Finland wants the approval of all current NATO members to affix NATO, together with Turkey, which has to date blocked enlargement and says Sweden specifically should crack down on exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathizers.

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks at the Parliament building in Helsinki, Finland, January 24, 2023.  Haavisto appears to have suggested that the country may need to join NATO without Sweden.

Finland’s International Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks on the Parliament constructing in Helsinki, Finland, January 24, 2023. Haavisto seems to have prompt that the nation may have to affix NATO with out Sweden.
(Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva by way of AP)

To this point, Sweden and Finland have pledged to affix the alliance collectively, however Haavisto’s remark to YLE raised issues that Finland was contemplating continuing with out its Nordic neighbor.

Turkey says Sweden’s choice to not examine Kurdish protest is ‘absurd’

“We’re in touch with Finland to search out out what is admittedly meant,” Swedish International Minister Tobias Billström mentioned in a press release to The Related Press. “Sweden respects the settlement between Sweden, Finland and Turkey concerning our NATO membership. We’ve got completed so up to now and can proceed to take action.”

In a memorandum of understanding signed by the three international locations at a NATO summit final yr, Sweden and Finland pledged to not help Kurdish militant teams and to raise arms embargoes imposed after their invasion of Turkey northern Syria in 2019.

Professional-Kurdish and anti-Turkish demonstrations in Stockholm have sophisticated the method. On Saturday, a far-right activist from Denmark held a protest in entrance of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, the place he burned the Koran, Islam’s holy ebook. A separate pro-Kurdish demonstration was held in a while Saturday within the Swedish capital.

The Swedish authorities has sought to distance itself from the demonstrations whereas insisting such protests are allowed beneath the nation’s freedom of expression.

Turkey reacted angrily to the protests, canceling a deliberate go to by Sweden’s protection minister to Ankara. Protests came about in entrance of Swedish diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul.


Erdogan has criticized the Swedish authorities for permitting the Koran burning demonstration.

“It’s clear that those that have allowed such meanness in entrance of our embassy can now not count on handouts from us for his or her software for NATO membership,” he mentioned.

He additionally criticized the pro-Kurdish demonstration and accused Sweden of “permitting terrorist organizations to rampage in its avenues and streets.” He mentioned if Sweden would not present Turkey or Muslims respect, then “they will not see any help from us on the NATO subject.”