Finland mulls joining Nato without Sweden: foreign minister

Helsinki, Jan 24 (EFE).- Finland would consider joining Nato without Sweden, which is once again facing veto threats from Turkey, Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said Tuesday.

Speaking to state broadcaster Yle, Haavisto said that entering the North Atlantic alliance with a joint application alongside Sweden was Finland’s “first option.”

“We have to assess the situation, whether something has happened that in the longer term would prevent Sweden from going ahead,” the foreign minister added.

The comments came after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday renewed his country’s veto threats after far-right Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Quran during a protest in front of Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm over the weekend.

Pro-Kurdish and anti-Nato protests also erupted over the weekend in Sweden at a time the country requires Turkey’s backing to access the Alliance.

“These protesters are playing with the security of Finland and Sweden,” foreign minister Haavisto said.

Erdogan, who has his sights set on presidential elections in May, has also conditioned his support for the Nordic Nato bid on both Stockholm and Helsinki ending their perceived support for Kurdish groups that Ankara views as terrorists, which would include the extradition of individuals wanted in Turkey.

“Sweden should not expect support from us for Nato,” Erdogan warned on Monday following the far-right protest.

Turkish authorities also canceled Swedish defense minister Pål Jonson’s visit to Ankara slated for this week, where officials were set to discuss the country’s application to Nato.

Turkey and Hungary are the only two members of the alliance that have not yet ratified the entry of Sweden and Finland, whose bid was launched at the Nato summit held in Madrid in June 2022.

The historic Nato application came shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. EFE


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