Turkey Could Evaluate Finland’s NATO Bid Separate From Sweden
Turkey will consider evaluating Finland’s bid to join the NATO alliance separately from Sweden in the wake of last week’s burning of a Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “It is a fair approach to set a difference between a problematic country and a less problematic one. We can evaluate (Finnish and Swedish) NATO applications separately if NATO and those countries make a decision about it,” Cavusoglu said.
The foreign minister’s words echoed comments the previous day by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said in a televised speech that: “We may deliver Finland a different message (on their NATO application) and Sweden would be shocked when they see our message. But Finland should not make the same mistake Sweden did.”
Sweden and Finland formally requested to join NATO in May 2022 in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine but ran into opposition from Turkey, which cited their support for political dissidents and Kurdish organizations that Ankara considers to be terrorist organizations. All of NATO’s member countries must approve the application.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Turkey and the two Nordic countries was reached a month later, ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. In the MoU, Sweden and Finland promised support for Turkey’s fight against terrorism and pledged to consider deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects “expeditiously and thoroughly,” and in return, Turkey agreed to withdraw its veto of their NATO membership bids. But in the meantime, Turkey’s parliament, claiming that the Nordic countries have failed to hold up their end of the bargain, has not ratified their NATO bids.
Turkey suspended NATO talks with Sweden and Finland over the protests in Stockholm, which included the burning of a Koran.