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Finland and Sweden apply for NATO alliance membership today, Turkey to block this move

The application must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Finland and Sweden have applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters after a receiving application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.

The application must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attends a ceremony to mark Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, May 18, 2022 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will not greenlight NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, adding that the countries failed to take a clear stance against terrorism.

“We will not say ‘yes’ to those (countries) who apply sanctions to Türkiye to join security organisation NATO,” Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan also said that Swedish and Finnish delegations should not bother coming to Ankara to convince Türkiye to approve their NATO bid, TRT World reported today.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addersses a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021. –REUTERS

Last Friday, the president said Türkiye does not look positively on Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bid, adding that certain Scandinavian countries effectively act as “guesthouses” for terrorist groups.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed reservations over Finland and Sweden joining NATO on Sunday, saying the Scandinavian countries support the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

Point of contention

A NATO member for 70 years, Türkiye, like all its fellow members, must approve of any new countries joining the alliance. 

For decades, Sweden and Finland took a neutral foreign policy stance in the region, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict that started on February 24 triggered a shift in their approach. Both the public and most politicians now favour joining the NATO alliance, as both countries stated their intention to seek NATO membership in May.

However, Sweden and Finland have not responded positively to Ankara’s requests for the extradition of over 30 terrorists over the past five years.

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Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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