Haavisto, Halla-aho downplays fears of a possible NATO veto by Turkey

Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Greens) and the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Jussi Halla-aho (Finns) have downplayed fears that Turkey could block ’s membership.

Earlier on Friday, the Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Finland and would join the union "error" due to the alleged presence "terrorists" in both countries, apparently referring to supporters of separatist Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey.

Asked for comments later on Friday, Haavisto urged to wait and see that NATO must go one step at a time.

All applications for membership must be approved by the parliaments of all 30 NATO countries.

"In such processes, we need patience. Things don’t happen in one day" Haavisto said. He spoke at a joint press conference with the Portuguese Foreign Minister, who is visiting Helsinki João Gomes Cravinho.

Haavisto said he was in regular contact with his Turkish colleague Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu this spring and has visited Turkey twice.

"I have had good discussions with my colleague and Turkey has expressed a positive view of Finland in these discussions. Let’s see how the conversation progresses" Haavisto said.

Cravinho said that would welcome Finland to NATO and that he expects the country’s parliament to support the decision.

Halla-aho: A high threshold for one country prevents membership

Halla-aho, who heads Parliament’s influential foreign affairs committee, said she was not worried about Erdogan’s comments at this point.

According to him, an individual country would have a high threshold to block the application for membership supported by all 29 other NATO member states.

Halla-aho says that based on her own contacts, she has a strong perception that Turkey is not causing difficulties in Finland’s membership.

He suggested that the comments were more related to Swedish and that Erdogan wants to protest.

"Based on the information I have received from the experts, I believe that this is above all related to Sweden’s historical expressions of support for the groups that Turkey defines as terrorist organizations." The leader of the opposition in basic Finns told Yle.

Finland and Sweden are expected to apply for NATO membership extensively next week. The other three Nordic countries – , and – have all been members of the Western Union since 1949.

Source: The Nordic Page

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