Turkey favors approving Finland’s NATO bid before Sweden’s

Jan 29, 2023, 12:29 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2023, 7:44 am

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey could greenlight Finland’s membership in NATO before that of Sweden, if the military alliance and both Nordic countries agree to it, the Turkish foreign minister said Monday.

But Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haaivisto poured cold water on that suggestion, saying it was important that Finland and Sweden join NATO at the same time.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu defined Finland’s application as “less problematic” than that of Sweden. Turkey accuses Stockholm of failing to take concrete steps to crackdown on groups that Ankara considers to be terrorists. More recently, has been incensed by Quran-burning protests that were staged outside the Turkish embassies in Stockholm and Copenhagen by an anti-Islam activist who holds Swedish and Danish citizenship.

“In my opinion it t would be fair to differentiate between the problematic country and the less problematic country,” Cavusoglu told journalists during a joint news conference with his visiting Portuguese counterpart. “We believe that if NATO and these countries take such a decision, we can evaluate (Finland’s bid) separately.”

Sweden and Finland applied jointly to become members of the military alliance, dropping their longstanding military nonalignment following Russia’s war on Ukraine.

NATO requires unanimous approval to admit new members. Turkey and Hungary have been delaying the ratification process of the Swedish and Finnish bids in its parliament.

In Helsinki, Haaivisto said his country’s “strong desire…has been, and still is, to join NATO together with Sweden.”

“We have actually underlined to all our future NATO partners, including Hungary and Turkey, that Finnish and Swedish security goes together,” the Finnish minister said, adding that the two countries would be able to join before a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

“I think it will be an important milestone, but we cannot, of course, decide on the behalf of Turkey or on behalf of Hungary about their timetables. We are in their hands,” he said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Twitter Monday that he discussed “the current situation” with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a telephone call.

Turkey has accused the government in Stockholm of being too lenient toward groups it deems as terror organizations or existential threats, including Kurdish groups.

“Some steps were taken in Sweden, such as constitutional amendments and legal amendments,” Cavusoglu said. “Unfortunately, there have been steps back, due to the provocations of groups that want to prevent Sweden from joining NATO.”

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also suggested that Ankara might sign off on Finland’s application in a “shock” to Sweden.

He said Turkey had provided a list of 120 people it wants extradited from Sweden, a demand that was part of a memorandum signed in June that averted Turkey’s veto of the Nordic nations’ joint application.

Turkey is demanding the extradition of alleged PKK militants as well as some followers of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric accused of the 2016 attempted coup.

Following last week’s protests, Erdogan warned Sweden not to expect support for its membership bid. Turkey also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that would have discussed membership for Sweden and Finland.

Sweden’s chief negotiator Oscar Stenström told Swedish Radio early Sunday that the three-way talks have been suspended to avoid worsening the situation.


Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen contributed from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
1 day ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
2 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
3 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
3 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
4 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Turkey favors approving Finland’s NATO bid before Sweden’s