Flags of member countries outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium
Reuters reported Turkey on May 15 made its request to Finland and Switzerland accede NATO. Ankara has said it wants the Nordic countries to stop supporting Kurdish militant groups and lift a ban on arms sales to Turkey. This request was made on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin (Germany). Earlier, Turkey surprised its allies when it announced that it did not support Finland and Sweden’s accession NATO.
At Turkey’s request, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “I am confident that we will be able to address the concerns raised by Turkey without delaying the membership of the two Nordic countries,” he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to disclose details of the Berlin conversations but shared Mr. Stoltenberg’s views. “I am very confident that we will reach consensus on that,” Blinken told reporters, adding that NATO was “a place for dialogue.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said talks with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts in Berlin had been very productive. Helsinki and Stockholm made proposals in response to Ankara’s concerns and Turkey will consider these proposals. Mr. Cavusoglu also provided the two Nordic countries with evidence of terrorists on their territories.
The Turkish foreign minister also said that Ankara has no objection policy of the union to open its doors to all European countries that wish to join the organization.
Any country that wants to join NATO must have the approval of all 30 members of the organization and its parliament.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on May 15 confirmed that his country will apply to join NATO. Meanwhile, Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats also announced a policy change that would pave the way for the country to apply to join NATO in the next few days. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said she would visit parliament on May 16 to make sure MPs support the country’s entry into NATO.
Sweden and Finland have remained neutral throughout the Cold War, and their decision to join NATO will be one of the biggest changes to Europe’s security architecture in decades. The move also reflects a major shift in public opinion in the Nordic region since Russia began the campaign military in Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly threatened to retaliate, including by unspecified “military-technical measures”, if the Nordic countries join NATO. Moscow officially stopped supplying electricity to Finland on May 14, amid rising tensions over Helsinki’s determination to join NATO.